Accused Embezzler in Court

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A Loma woman accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a volunteer fire department was in court Tuesday morning.

Barbara Cowley waived her right to a preliminary hearing, she is accused of stealing nearly $400,000 from the Lower Valley Fire Protection District.

Cowley was clerk to the board of directors, putting her in charge of payroll for all employees, including herself. Police say Cowley falsified payroll checks and other accounting records. At one point police says she was paying herself $60,000 more than she was supposed to be making.

Cowley faces felony charges of theft of more than $15,000 if convicted she could face up to 12 years in prison. She is expected back in court next month.

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