Authorities have arrested a woman suspected of embezzling nearly $26,000 from the Faith Lutheran Church preschool, in a case that allegedly began about a month after she was hired as the preschool director.
Melissa Miles, 39, was arrested around noon Nov. 8 during a traffic stop, after a resident reported her whereabouts at a Castle Rock fast food outlet, said Clinton McKinzie of the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
The DA's office filed charges against Miles following an investigation by the Castle Rock Police Department that was released in an 18-page arrest affidavit.
The affidavit alleges Miles, who was hired by Faith Lutheran as the preschool director in November 2011, made her first personal purchase with the preschool's debit card on Dec. 22, 2011, at Kohl's in Castle Rock.
By the time the financial discrepancies were discovered by church officials, Miles had made 109 personal purchases totaling $18,418.22, according to Castle Rock investigators.
Castle Rock police provided a spreadsheet detailing Miles' personal purchases, which ranged from $7.77 at Chick-fil-A in Castle Rock, to $1,327.17 at the Great Indoors in Lone Tree.
Among her reported expenditures were seven airline tickets, hosting family members and friends in July on a round-trip flight from Denver to Los Angeles; a June purchase for $801.50 at Bluebird Estate Liquidation, where she allegedly bought a wine refrigerator and bicycle; and a May expenditure at Castle Rock municipal court to pay court fees for a traffic accident.
Castle Rock officials obtained documentation from traffic court indicating Miles was issued a ticket under the last name of Malone, which is the name on her driver's license, according to Castle Rock Detective Jason Maes.
The amount of her embezzlement charges escalated when she reportedly arranged a $7,500 payment to herself, over and above her annual salary, for a summer preschool camp that never happened, according to the arrest affidavit.
While church officials originally brought a case to investigators for an alleged $60,000 embezzlement case, investigators estimated the total loss to the preschool was $25,918.22. That number does not include $1,700 in King Soopers gift cards that Miles reportedly took for personal use before being confronted and providing reimbursement.
While Miles reportedly offered church officials $8,000 to “make the case go away,” according to the arrest affidavit, she refused to talk to investigators and referred all questions to her attorney.
Miles was charged with one count of Class 3 felony theft, for a theft of more than $20,000.