Aztec woman accused in Farmington embezzlement seeks admittance in prosecutor's diversion program
FARMINGTON — An Aztec woman accused in late May of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Farmington consulting business, has requested admittance into the San Juan County District Attorney's Office pre-prosecution diversion program.
If admitted, 59-year-old Teresa Dedrick would be required to pay up front at least half of the $241,533 allegedly stolen from Protocom Consulting and will be required to pay the remainder during a two-year period of probation.
As previously reported, Protocom Consulting owner Drew Bates reported the alleged thefts to Farmington police on May 4.
Bates told police he began to notice discrepancies in his company's financial records in early April and began an audit, according to an arrest warrant. He determined that approximately 35 checks were forged by his bookkeeper, Dedrick, and deposited into bank accounts belonging to Dedrick's business, WW Trucking, the warrant states. Bates told detectives he confronted Dedrick about the missing money and claimed she admitted to the thefts. She agreed to pay the money back, Bates said, but then delayed meeting with him several times to discuss the sale of her business, according to the warrant.
Dedrick was charged May 20 in Farmington Magistrate Court with one count of embezzlement over $20,000, a second-degree felony, and 30 counts of third-degree felony forgery.
She did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Times. Her defense attorney, Tyson Quail of the Fortner Law Office in Farmington, also did not respond to a request for comment.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said the diversion program's administrators are currently trying to determine whether Dedrick is capable of paying the full amount back to Protocom Consulting within the two-year probation period.
“She has to have a means of paying (full restitution) in that two-year period,” O'Brien said.
Administrators are also investigating Dedrick's background to ensure that her criminal record does not preclude her from admittance into the program. According to court records, Dedrick was previously charged with embezzlement and forgery in 1991 while she was employed as the secretary of former San Juan County Sheriff Conn Brown, but a jury found her not guilty at trial.
Dedrick, who was then known as Teresa Wolford, sued the sheriff's office and county, among others, following the jury's decision, claiming that the charges were brought against her as a form of political retaliation. A district court judge dismissed the lawsuit, and she appealed to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court upheld the district court's ruling in a written decision issued in March 1996.
O'Brien said that his office was aware of the previous charges, but Dedrick would still be allowed to enter the diversion program since she was not convicted of the offenses.
Dedrick was initially arrested May 27 and held at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on a $350,000 cash-only bond. However, her bond was reduced to $10,000 cash only by Judge James Mosberger on May 29, and she was released upon its posting.