Theft suspect scheduled to appear in District Court March 2 |

Theft suspect scheduled to appear in District Court March 2

HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS — Elizabeth Valree Carmichael, 47, is scheduled to appear in District Court on Monday, March 2, for an advisement hearing on charges she stole more than $451,000 from the Bear Mountain Ranch in western Grand County.

An arrest warrant was issued on Jan. 7 for Carmichael, who now lives in Lubbock, Texas. The suspect turned herself into Colorado authorities on Jan. 17, according to court documents, posted bond and returned to Lubbock with the permission of the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the case.

Court documents indicate Carmichael needs to travel to the Southwest and East Coast for her job.

The affidavit for the Jan. 7 arrest warrant says Carmichael is suspected in the theft of $451,755 from Bear Mountain Ranch between 2009 and 2012 while she worked at the ranch. According to the lengthy affidavit, Carmichael was working with then-ranch owners Anne and John Draper as a bookkeeper and manager not only on the ranch, but on a related business called Bear Mountain Bison.

The affidavit says the Drapers told investigators they became suspicious in August 2012 when a $50,000 “paycheck” made out to them from an account that was supposed to have $1 million in it was returned for insufficient funds.

A month later the Drapers fired Carmichael, according to the affidavit, and later told investigators they suspected she had been using at least one company credit card for personal expenses. The affidavit cites allegations that Carmichael and her husband at the time made unauthorized charges between July 2009 and August 2011 amounting to more than $312,000.

The affidavit indicates Carmichael had hired both a civil and a criminal attorney and that the criminal attorney told one of the investigators not to talk to his client because she intended to invoke both her Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment rights. The Fifth Amendment protects defendants from compulsory self-incrimination, while the Sixth guarantees them the right to a speedy jury trial.

The warrant was issued after a nearly two-year investigation by the sheriff’s office.

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