ALAMOSA — Alamosa County Judge Daniel Walzl on Tuesday advised Amanda McDonald, 41, of theft and embezzlement charges against her and scheduled a preliminary hearing for later this month.
McDonald is charged with theft and related criminal activity allegedly occurring during her tenure as City of Alamosa finance director. She made her first appearance in court on Tuesday morning in front of Judge Walzl in Alamosa County Court. Having posted bond, she was not in custody Tuesday morning. She had no attorney accompanying her to court but declined documents offered by the judge to apply for the public defender.
Judge Walzl read the charges that have been filed through the district attorney’s office against McDonald: felony theft; felony embezzlement of public property; felony unauthorized use of transaction device; and misdemeanor first degree official misconduct.
Because of the felony charges against her, McDonald is entitled to a preliminary hearing in county court within about a month’s time, Judge Walzl informed her on Tuesday. When asked if she wanted a preliminary hearing, McDonald said she did.
Judge Walzl scheduled McDonald’s preliminary hearing for the morning of Monday, Aug. 28.
Walzl reminded McDonald of her other rights, such as the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. The judge told McDonald she also has the right to a trial, which would occur at the district court level either before a jury of 12 or before the judge.
He also advised McDonald of a protection order against her prohibiting her from harassing, intimidating or tampering with witnesses or victims in the case. McDonald was terminated from employment as the City of Alamosa finance director last fall after questions arose during the city’s audit. Charges were filed in July following a lengthy and intensive investigation.
McDonald had worked for the city since July 2007 and had served as finance director since December 2008. Charges against her allege that during that time McDonald misappropriated up to $65,000 in public funds and provided health insurance through the city to an unauthorized family member, which resulted in the city being charged approximately $400,000 in unauthorized premiums and insurance benefits being paid out.