Former GarCo worker suspected of embezzling vehicle registration fees

Glenwood Springs police expect charges to be brought after a former Garfield County Clerk and Recorder employee allegedly embezzled money.

Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico said an employee who worked on motor vehicle registrations stole cash amounting to less than $20,000.

“We absolutely know that cash was taken,” Alberico said.

She said the embezzlement was discovered in November.

“As soon as we figured out something was wrong, we put that person on paid administrative leave. They have since resigned their position,” Alberico said.

She said the person was hired in 2007, and the embezzling apparently began in the middle of 2010. Alberico has turned the case over to police and is asking that charges be brought.

“We’ve got an investigation going right now. There was internal theft,” police Lt. Bill Kimminau said.

The case is fairly straightforward, he said, but police are having to go through documents and paperwork to substantiate bringing charges. He said he expected action to be taken in the case “in the near future.”

The theft involved vehicle registration fees, and Alberico has been working with the Colorado Department of Revenue on the matter. The employee embezzled money in a way the department hadn’t seen before, Alberico said, and she has put safeguards in place to keep it from happening again and shared information with other county clerks as well.

The money consists of revenues that are split up between the Department of Revenue and multiple local taxing entities, Alberico said. She expects to work with the county’s risk manager and insurers regarding reimbursing those who were affected.

She declined to discuss how she learned of the embezzlement but said initially she found it hard to believe.

“At first we were looking at it as, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s something that’s not processing right,’ because you just don’t want to believe that somebody who is working for you is doing that,” she said.

She said her reaction went from surprise to disappointment to hurt to anger. The investigation by her office took a long time. The office’s motor-vehicle records date back to late 2010, and the office had to ask the state for older records and review thousands of transactions by the employee dating back to the employee’s hiring.


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