ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – It doesn’t sound like the smartest crime, stealing from crime stoppers.
That’s what police say one New Mexico woman was doing, when everyone thought she was there to help keep tabs on all that reward money.
Judy Ratliff was a long time employee at first national bank in Alamogordo.
Police say she stole thousands of dollars from the local crime stoppers accounts for Otero County.
Officials with Otero County crime stoppers say they notified state police as soon as they noticed the missing money.
“There was a lot of inquisitive people to say the least” Cpl. Theo Livingston, with the Otero County Sheriff’s Office.
Ratliff was treasurer for the local crime stoppers when the money went missing.
Investigators say she forged signatures of past and present law enforcement officers to write checks to herself.
Ratliff faces felony embezzlement charges. Police say they can prove she stole more than $10,000 in a three year period.
The criminal complaint states that number maybe more like $80,000 to $130,000 dollars.
“It’s a very important program to the community so it’s important for the solvency of the program to have funding in there you know to pay off people who provide information, our tip informants,” said Livingston.
People in Otero County say Ratliff worked at the bank for years and they are shocked to hear about this.
“It’s just horrible if someone embezzles money from anything and then especially for something that’s going to help out police department,” said Rosanna Heath, Alamogordo resident.
“It’s a shock to the community because not only is first national a hometown business, crime stoppers helps all of our small businesses by you know cracking down on crime whether it be big or small,” said Melissa Lapertua, local business owner.
Ratliff was fired by the bank almost two years ago after investigators noticed all that money was missing.
A lot of the money came from crime stoppers yearly fundraising banquet in Otero County.
Ratliff is no longer on the crime stoppers board or employed at the bank.