Suspect allegedly embezzled funds while business manager

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FARMINGTON — A Flora Vista man has been accused of embezzling more than $45,000 from a business formerly located in Aztec by depositing business checks he fraudulently obtained into his personal bank accounts.

Paul Choman, 58, is accused of two, second-degree felony counts of embezzlement and fraud, according to court records.

He is accused of fraudulently obtaining about $46,000 from Sierra Chemicals between Sept. 6 and Dec. 27, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Sarah Field, Choman's attorney, said the prosecution and defense are preparing for the May 10 preliminary hearing in Aztec Magistrate Court.

The Aztec Police Department investigation was launched on Jan. 31 when a co-owner of Sierra Chemicals contacted an officer regarding possible embezzlement.

The business relocated to Durango, Colorado, during the investigation. 

Choman was the business manager for about eight months before he was terminated on Jan. 23. He had the authority to sign the checks as part of his job.

The victim stated he believed Choman was depositing checks into his personal bank account instead of paying vendors working with the company.

The alleged embezzlement was discovered when the company was preparing tax paperwork.

Six checks were issued between Sept. 6 and Dec. 27 totaling about $46,000. The signatures appeared to be similar on all the checks.

Search warrants were executed for Bank of America and Citizen's Bank.

The sergeant was provided with information on six checking accounts under Paul's name that were related to the fraudulent checks.

He was released from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center per a court order.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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