Updated May 23 at 4 p.m.
A grand jury in Taos District Court this month indicted the longtime branch manager of the U.S. Bank located on Taos Plaza, finding evidence to suggest she stole more than $100,000 dollars from two account holders over the past three years.
Rose T. Vargas, 62, appeared before Judge Emilio Chavez in Taos District Court on Tuesday (May 14) to be arraigned on two second-degree felony counts of embezzlement contained in the indictment, which was filed May 9.
The first count alleges Vargas embezzled $60,618.80 from a male account holder between Aug. 11, 2015 and Dec. 15, 2016.
In the second count, Vargas is accused of embezzling $45,097.63 from another male account holder between Jan. 2, 2018 through Dec. 8 of last year.
Vargas pleaded not guilty to both counts on Tuesday. She asked that she be able to attend her son’s wedding in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 16, a request Chavez approved.
Vargas has hired local private defense 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 to be scheduled within eight months of the arraignment. A tentative trial date has been set for Dec. 10.
Vargas had worked at U.S. Bank in Taos for 44 years. She was one of three other long-term employees honored in 2018 at the annual U.S. Bank shareholders meeting in Albuquerque.
Court records show six other cases 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, respectively. 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 on Jan. 7 of this year. The complaint filed with the case indicates U.S. Bank is seeking payment on a loan of $39,000 for a property located in the Del Norte Subdivision in Taos County. The case is still pending.
An executive at the corporation’s headquarters in Albuquerque declined to comment on the embezzlement case during a phone call Friday (May 17).
This is a developing story.
A prior version of this article said Vargas was 53. She is 62.