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Santa Fe woman accused of embezzling nearly $600K from firm

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe woman has been accused of embezzling nearly $600,000 from a landscape architecture firm where she once worked.

A Sept. 19 arraignment has been scheduled for 43-year-old Heather Barna.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court, Barna is facing felony charges of embezzlement and unlawful use or theft of an ATM or debit card.

It was unclear Sunday if Barna had a lawyer who could speak on her behalf.

Barna worked as an office manager for the landscape architecture firm from October 2020 to January of this year and oversaw payroll for the business.

The company's owner told police that she learned of the alleged crime after another worker noticed a $9,000 charge in the company's bank records that couldn't be explained.

Barna allegedly made 430 unauthorized transfers from the company's account to her personal account totaling more than $490,000 plus 1,419 personal purchases on the company's Amazon account totaling more than $77,000.

Police obtained a search warrant for Barna's bank records and confirmed the unauthorized transactions, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

The newspaper said Barna admitted to taking money to cover surgery costs and repaid only $300,000 of the embezzled funds.