Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trial set in debit-card theft case

Woman pleads not guilty to illegally using co-worker’s card number

Express Staff Writer

Erika Maria Ruiz

A jury trial has been scheduled for next year for a Hailey woman accused of illegally using a co-worker's debit card number to transfer money to the telephone accounts of two inmates at the Blaine County jail.

Erika Maria Ruiz, 21, pleaded not guilty at arraignment Monday to a felony charge of "theft by unauthorized control or transfer of property with intent of depriving the owner."

Blaine County 5th District Judge Robert J. Elgee advised Ruiz that the crime is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Trial was set to begin on March 7. Ruiz, who is represented by Ketchum attorney Andrew Parnes, remains free on $2,500 bond.

She is accused of using a co-worker's debit card number in August to transfer $65.75 to the telephone accounts of two inmates, one of them a former boyfriend. Ruiz was employed at the time at the nursery school of the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum.

In a separate case, Ruiz is charged with felony grand theft for allegedly embezzling $1,050 in April when she was employed as a teller at Wells Fargo Bank in Hailey. A preliminary hearing in that case is scheduled for Dec. 22. Ruiz has posted $10,000 bond on the grand theft charge.

Terry Smith:

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