Bloomfield woman accused of embezzling $800,000

Court questions activities between 2007 and 2012

A Bloomfield woman has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling more than $800,000 from a La Plata County man.

Mary Torres, 62, was being held Wednesday in the La Plata County jail on suspicion of felony theft, said Trish Hutchens, investigator with the Durango Police Department. Her bail was set at $25,500.

Torres served as a court-appointed conservator assigned to oversee the trust of Tony Simon Archuleta, a lifelong Durango resident who was left the money by his father. In reviewing his case, the courts raised questions about particular checks, Hutchens said. The court asked that an independent review be conducted, which revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars missing, she said.

The court notified the police department, which obtained a search warrant for Torres’ house in Bloomfield. Working with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, authorities arrested Torres on Friday.

The thefts occurred from 2007 through 2012, Hutchens said.

The case remains under investigation.

“We’re just at the tip of the iceberg, and we don’t know where this case is going to go,” Hutchens said.

Forensic auditors are expected to review the case and help determine if more charges should be filed.

“It’s a very complex case,” she said. “We’re charging what we can prove right now.”

The 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office also must review the case to determine whether formal charges will be filed.

It is unclear exactly why Torres was appointed conservator of the estate, but Archuleta was known to Durango police, who had contact with him in connection with public intoxication and causing a disturbance at his former home near East Sixth Avenue and College Drive. He has since moved outside city limits.

His father, Salomon Archuleta, who is deceased, owned several pieces of real estate in downtown Durango and throughout the county.

He also made money from natural-gas and oil royalties.