Feds Say Worker Stole $56K from Charity

     ALBUQUERQUE (CN) – Federal prosecutors charged a 49-year-old woman with stealing more than $56,000 from her employer, a charity.
     Bernadette Casias, 49, of San Juan Pueblo, was arraigned Thursday on an indictment charging her with 24 counts of bank fraud.
     Prosecutors say she stole checks from the mail intended for Interfaith-LEAP, a faith-based charity that helps families dealing with alcohol and drug abuse, hunger and limited health care.
     Casias is accused of opening bank accounts while representing herself as the program owner of “Inter-Faith” and using altered state tax documents to purport to provide a tax identification number for “Inter-Faith.”
     Prosecutors say that between December 2007 and April 2009, she cashed and deposited 24 checks meant for the charity into her own accounts.
     Casias faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine on each charge. She pleaded not guilty and was released pending trial.
     Prosecutors described Casias as “a resident but not a member of San Juan Pueblo,” a Native American village.

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