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Taos bank manager accused of embezzling more than $100,000

By John Miller | The Taos NewsMay 24, 2019

TAOS — A Taos County grand jury has indicted the longtime manager of the U.S. Bank branch on Taos Plaza who is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from two account-holders over the past three years.

Rose T. Vargas, 62, who had worked at the branch for 44 years, appeared before state District Judge Emilio Chavez in Taos last week to be arraigned on two second-degree felony counts of embezzlement in the indictment, filed May 9.

The first count alleges Vargas embezzled $60,618.80 between Aug. 11, 2015, and Dec. 15, 2016, from an account.

In the second count, Vargas is accused of embezzling $45,097.63 from another account from Jan. 2, 2018, to Dec. 8.

She pleaded not guilty to both counts during the May 14 arraignment.

Vargas has hired attorney Alan Maestas to represent her in the case.

Maestas and Steven Romero, a prosecutor with the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, discussed a possible trial date of Dec. 10.

An executive at the corporation’s headquarters in Albuquerque declined to comment on the embezzlement case against Vargas, who was one of a handful of long-term U.S. Bank employees honored in 2018 at an annual shareholders meeting.

Court records show six civil cases have been filed against Vargas in Taos District Court since 1999, indicating she had fallen behind on mortgage payments and faced foreclosure on at least one property in Taos County.

Wells Fargo filed two debt cases against Vargas in 2006, and Beneficial Bank filed another in 2007. All three cases were closed, and liens on the property were lifted after Vargas and her husband paid the outstanding debts, court records show.

Regions Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase filed foreclosure cases against Vargas in October 2007 and March 2013. Documents filed in the latter case indicate Vargas owed more than $100,000 on a mortgage for her property on Simpson Street in Taos, but the case was dismissed after Vargas entered into a loan modification agreement on Jan. 7, 2014.

A third foreclosure case was filed against Vargas by U.S. Bank early this year. The complaint filed with the case indicates U.S. Bank is seeking payment on a loan of $39,000 for a property in the Del Norte Subdivision in Taos County. The case is pending.

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