Going to town on the company dime | AspenTimes.com

Going to town on the company dime

Joel Stonington
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT ” A Basalt woman was arrested for allegedly using company credit cards for personal purchases, including airplane flights, car repairs and birthday gifts.

Misti Murphy, 28, was charged Monday with felony theft for allegedly using two company credit cards belonging to her former employer, Basalt-based Durgin Electric.

“I know it was wrong but I couldn’t stop,” Murphy told a Basalt investigator, according to the police report.

An employee at Durgin Electric first became suspicious when Murphy allegedly falsified a cell-phone bill to make it seem like she had made $98 in telephone calls when the total was actually $198.

Durgin Electric employee Amanda Szmiot became suspicious of the bill Murphy presented and on Oct. 15 found a version of the bill in the trash, which had numbers whited out and “tiny dollar signs taped over where numbers should have been,” according to court documents.

Because Murphy had access to a company credit card for business expenses, Szmiot checked statements for a Master Card and found them missing from files, police said.

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Szmiot informed the Durgin owner, Steve Durgin, and the two proceeded to uncover thousands of dollars of personal purchases on two company credit cards after Murphy called in sick Oct. 16, court records say. The affidavit states that Durgin has no recollection of issuing one of the cards.

Durgin allegedly discovered that Murphy had charged nearly $5,000 for car repairs on the day before, Oct. 15.

Through the following month, Durgin employees did more research and allegedly uncovered $13,204.66 in charges to the two cards including a flight from Atlanta, Ga,. to Eagle for Murphy’s mother and a half-dozen car rentals.

A warrant was issued for Murphy and she was arrested in Kansas while presumably on vacation for Thanksgiving. She agreed to be extradited back to Aspen and the transport company made it to Idaho Springs, before turning back due to weather.

Murphy ended up at the Randall County Jail in Amarillo, Texas. Because Murphy was scheduled to spend a week in the county jail, her husband, Darrell Murphy, negotiated a personal recognizance bond so he could pick her up and drive her back to Basalt.

Murphy was advised of the charges Monday in Pitkin County District Court. She was released on the personal recognizance bond.

If convicted, she faces two to six years in prison and $2,000 to $500,000 in fines. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 7, at 10:30 a.m.

jstonington@aspentimes.com

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