Bond set in Arbala Volunteer Fire Dept. theft

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

August 5, 2008 - Bond was set at $50,000 for Yadira Aguilar Darden, the woman accused of stealing money from Arbala Volunteer Fire Department.

Darden remains in the county jail just before noon Tuesday in lieu of bond on the third-degree felony theft charge. She was taken into custody around 9:30 Monday morning at her residence, and later booked into the county jail after confessing to taking money from the account, according to reports.

Sheriff's officers Thursday were presented with information of "suspected illegal activity on the fire department's account." Bank and other account information was obtained Friday by sheriff's investigators, who worked into the early morning hours Saturday pouring over the paperwork, "matching up" records. After reviewing two-years worth of records, investigators observed a pattern of funds being transferred from the volunteer fire department's account into a personal account belonging to AVFD's secretary/treasurer, Hopkins County Sheriff's Investigator Lewis Tatum and Texas Ranger John Vance said Monday morning.

A warrant was obtained for the AVFD secretary/treasurer's arrest for theft. Tatum and Vance picked up the 42-year-old woman at her Arbala home and transported her to the sheriff's office, where they say she confessed during an interview to stealing money from AVFD account.

Overall, more than $69,000 was stolen from the AVFD fund beginning in June of 2007 through July of 2008, Tatum said.

As of Tuesday morning, the investigators indicated they do not believe anyone else to be involved in or have knowledge of the thefts. The investigation is ongoing.

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