The suspect was fired from the insurance agency

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FARMINGTON — A former employee of an Aztec insurance agency faces embezzlement charges for allegedly taking about $8,700 from customers including taking cash from them after being fired.

Marinda Murch, 43, is accused of two third-degree felony counts of embezzlement, according to court records.

Murch is accused of embezzling about $8,700 in funds from the George Gandy Insurance office at 202 S. Main St. in Aztec earlier this year, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Nicholas Cullander, Murch's attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Aztec Police Department filed the charges against Murch in two separate cases.

The first charge comes from an investigation launch on April 30 when the CEO of the insurance agency told police she was concerned about possible embezzlement from store manager Murch.

It was determined that Murch allegedly embezzled about $4,700 from the business and was fired from her position at the company.

The second case was launched on June 5 when a customer spoke to employees about more possible embezzlement that Murch is accused of.

The Aztec location was temporarily closed after Murch had been fired.

The customer told the CEO that Murch met some of the customers outside of the store and was taking cash payments, even though she no longer worked at the store.

The employees stated Murch figured out how to put the cash payment into their company system as she kept the money.

Some of the customers stated they paid Murch upwards of six months of insurance coverage but were not provided a receipt.

After Aztec police posted on Facebook about the investigation, the agency received multiple phone calls from customers who stated they met with Murch while the office was closed and most of them did not get receipts.

A detective spoke to multiple customers, including one who stated Murch met her at an off-site location after hours on a Saturday to take the cash.

Murch allegedly created an insurance card for one customer but never insured the vehicle, pocketing money for herself.

One customer told the detective that Murch was providing insurance cards via email, first using a corporate email address then transitioned to using a personal email account.

Murch was booked into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on June 4 on the first case and was later released per a court order.

She has not been booked into the county jail for the second case.

Her preliminary hearing for the first case is set for the morning of Aug.1 in Aztec Magistrate Court.

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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