An Ash Flat woman charged in January with embezzling more than $63,000 from a local business won't appear in court until January 2005.
Maria Ables, 33, of Ash Flat was charged in January with two counts of theft of property, class B felonies; six counts of forgery, class C felonies; and one count of fraudulent use of a credit card, a class A misdemeanor.
Ables' trial was originally set for February 2004 but was continued until July by Circuit Judge Harold Erwin at the request of Ables and her attorney, Gray Dillinger of Melbourne. The defense then filed another order of continuance and the trial was slated for Oct. 12. It has once again been continued. The trial is set to begin Jan. 3, 2005
Ables was employed by Gill's Backhoe Service for almost two years as a bookkeeper, said Sgt. Mack Thompson with the Arkansas State Police.
Between April 19, 2002, and Dec. 5, 2003, Ables allegedly stole a large amount of cash from deposits, forged checks on the business account and used the company credit card for personal purchases.
One of Ables' responsibilities as bookkeeper was to deposit money into Gill's account at First National Banking Company. According to bank documents, on almost all the deposit tickets from June 17, 2003 to Dec. 2, 2003, there was a notation of "less cash" varying from $100 to $1,800. It is alleged Ables took the cash from the deposits and also pocketed money when customers paid in cash.
Three of six checks forged by Ables while she worked at Gill's were written to a local furniture store, totaling more than $7,000, Thompson said.
She used the company credit card to purchase two tickets to a Brad Paisley concert in Jonesboro, Thompson said.
Gill told police he did not give Ables permission to sign his name on checks, never agreed to loan Ables money, never authorized Ables to use his credit card for personal purchases and never authorized Ables to take cash from bank deposits, Thompson said.
When Ables was arrested Jan. 22 she had two out-of-county warrants from Baxter County and Beebe for violations of the Arkansas hot check law, Thompson said.
Ables was arrested again June 2 while working at a local restaurant for allegedly forging $7,300 in checks she had taken from her father-in-law.In that case she is charged with two counts of second-degree forgery, class C felonies.
An employee of FNBC contacted Thompson May 14 about two checks, one for $3,800 and another for $3,500 drawn on the account of Sherman Ables. The employee told Thompson Maria Ables had either deposited or attempted to deposit the checks into her account at the Bank of Cave City, Thompson said.
Sherman Ables told police he did not write the two checks and did not authorize anyone to write the checks or sign his name. He told police he suspected his daughter-in-law had forged the checks, Thompson said.
Class B felonies are punishable by up to 20 years in prison for each offense. Class C felonies are punishable by up to 10 years for each offense.