BEAUFORT — A Newport woman charged in May on eight counts of obtaining property by false pretense after she allegedly stole $5.3 million from her former employee Big Rock Sport LLC had her bond reduced during a first appearance Monday in superior court.
Susan White Garcia, 42, faces eight felony counts and was jailed under a $5 million bond. Her bond is now $2 million, with restrictions.
Superior Court Judge Benjamin Alford heard the motion to reduce the bond to $100,000. Ms. Garcia’s attorney, Keith Williams of Greenville, filed the motion.
“My client is not classified as a violent offender and she has no other charges against her,” the attorney said. “She has not tried to flee during the months prior to arrest even though she knew an investigation was being conducted. And she turned herself in.”
In 2012, the company discovered the suspect had been violating company policy regarding the use of company funds and the activities allegedly had been taking place since 2007. State and local authorities were immediately notified.
District Attorney Scott Thomas, who represents Carteret, Craven and Pamlico counties, reminded the court that a substantial amount of money was involved and that all eight counts against her were felonies.
“This was an extensive investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation and where has all that money gone?” he asked.
While agreeing to reduce the bond, Judge Alford set certain criteria, including electronic monitoring, surrendering her passport and not reapplying for another. She is confined to Carteret, Craven and Pamlico counties, but can make scheduled appointments with her attorney in Greenville, in Pitt County.
Ms. Garcia was an accounts payable manager for Big Rock Sports on Hankinson Road just off Highway 24 near Newport, said the district attorney.
She used several credit cards to make unauthorized personal purchases and falsified the corporate accounting records to cover the unlawful use, the district attorney stated in the press release after her arrest. The unauthorized purchases included subscriptions to online gambling sites, purchases from Amazon.com and other retailers and payment for personal travel. Because of the high volume of sales by Big Rock Sports and Ms. Garcia’s effort to conceal her actions, the use of the company cards was hidden for some time.
Big Rock Sports, which has subsidiary companies including Henry’s Tackle LLC, is an outdoor sporting goods distributor, wholesaler, service provider and business partner to the outdoor retail market. It’s based in Graham. The company has more than 600 employees nationally, including 80 in the Highway 24 office.