Embezzlement Charges Against Arbala Treasurer - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

08/06/08-Longview

Embezzlement Charges Against Arbala Treasurer

This week, firefighters at the Arbala volunteer fire department in Hopkins county reported large amounts of money missing from their account.The alleged thief is in jail - and she's the treasurer and wife of the fire chief. 42 year old Yadira Aguilar Darden was the Arbala volunteer fire department's secretary and treasurer for years. The wife of the fire chief, she was a trusted member of the department until large amounts of fire station funds turned up missing.

"It's a big shock to all of us, it certainly was," says interim chief  J.W. Reagan.

"It didn't take long for law enforcement to narrow it down to the individual that was doing the transfers, it was done electronically through the Internet, and it was basically a transfer from their account into her account, and she was spending it," says Hopkins county district attorney Martin Baddy.

Investigators say Darden moved over $69,000 into her account over 2 years, money that was collected in donations and fund-raisers to help the department.

"That's what makes this just such a terrible crime is to steal money that people just gave to try to support their fire department and to try to keep their community safe," Baddy says.

"Right now we're going to need some help. There's no doubt about it because we had plans for this money that disappeared," Reagan says.

At one point, investigators say darden depleted the fund down to just 75 dollars. She's charged with felony theft, leaving the fire department to make do with what they have.

"Just to think that somebody can use that and steal the money is just outrageous," Braddy says.

Bond for Yadira Darden has been set at $50,000 dollars. Now, even though her husband will not face any charges, he has resigned his position as fire chief.

Bob Hallmark  reporting/bhallmark@kltv.com

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