Eagle County detective leads Conejos County fraud sting | VailDaily.com

Eagle County detective leads Conejos County fraud sting

Lt. Dan Loya, a detective with the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, helped lead a Conejos County welfare fraud investigation that resulted in five arrests.

CONEJOS – The long arm of Eagle County's law enforcement reached into Conejos County and came away with five arrests, including three of the top people in that county's Social Services department.

Lt. Dan Loya, a detective with the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, led an investigation of the Conejos County's Department of Social Services. Loya assisted Conejos County Sheriff Howard Galvez, who asked Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek for the help.

When they were through, three Conejos County Social Services department employees were arrested for welfare fraud and charged with felonies, along with the director's daughter and the father of the daughter's baby.

Maria Theresa Garcia, 41, of Antonito, was director of the Conejos County department of Social Services when she allegedly falsified documents to receive more than $6,000 in benefits to which she was not entitled, the investigation found. She faces four felony charges.

Maria allegedly coordinated more than $8,000 in illegal benefits for her daughter Amanda Garcia, 18, also of Antonito. Amanda faces two felony charges. Colorado Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/Colorado Works rules that dependents are not eligible for benefits.

Kolton Wade Rogers, 20, of Antonito, is the father of Amanda's baby and is accused of submitting an application that was incomplete and inaccurate. He received benefits based on that information, the investigation found.

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Jennifer Vigil-Garcia, 29, of Antonito, is the Conejos County intake technician who processed the public assistance cases. She was arrested when she arrived at the Conejos County Sheriff's Office to speak with an investigator. She is charged with six felonies.

Kathryn Broyles, 65, of Antonito, also faces six felonies. She was the deputy director of the Conejos County Department of Social Services and was Vigil-Garcia's supervisor.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.