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Embezzlement suspect surrenders to police

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The sign outside Cattleman’s Kountry Kitchen on 2010 S. Main St. in Roswell. Fredda Sanders, 67, a former manager of the restaurant turned herself over to police Monday morning. She faces multiple charges after she allegedly embezzled $173,091.50 from the business between March 2015 and December 2017. (File Photo)

A woman wanted for allegedly embezzling more than $170,000 over three years from a restaurant she had managed gave herself up to police Monday.

Fredda Sanders, 67, turned herself over to police Monday morning at the Roswell Police Station, according to a post Tuesday on the Roswell Police Department’s Facebook page.

Before she showed up at the station, Sanders’ attorney phoned a detective with the department and arranged for her to turn herself over to the police, Todd Wildermuth, public information officer with the Police Department, said Tuesday.

Doug Jones Witt — listed as Sanders’ attorney in electronic court records — could not be reached for comment before press time Tuesday.

Sanders was arrested at 6:46 a.m. Monday and booked at the Chaves County Detention Center, according to a jail summary report. She was released on her own personal recognizance that evening, following an initial appearance in Chaves County Magistrate Court, court documents state.

An arrest warrant was issued Dec. 19 for Sanders on one count of embezzlement over $20,000, one count of computer access with intent to defraud and embezzle, over $20,000, and three counts of tax evasion.

Sanders is accused of embezzling $173,091.50 over three years from Cattleman’s Kountry Kitchen and then failing to file three years of New Mexico Personal Income Tax returns on the money from 2015 to 2017.

When interviewed by investigators in November 2018, Sanders denied the charges.

The embezzlement was first discovered by the restaurant’s owner in December 2017, when he noticed $33,813.72 missing from the restaurant’s business account, court documents state. The owner later found that the money was never deposited into the account.

After reviewing Cattleman’s Kountry Kitchen business account records, the owner noticed a transaction that stated $500 was transferred into a personal bank account.

A bank representative later told the owner that Sanders transferred the $500 into her own personal checking account on Dec 11, 2017, according to court documents.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.