SIERRA VISTA — The owner of a payroll services company who police say bilked her clients out of more than $1 million over a seven-year period will attempt to settle her case in order to avoid trial.

At a hearing this week in Cochise County Superior Court, Patricia Bowman’s attorney told Superior Court Judge Laura Cardinal that the matter has been developing.

“We’ve made progress, Judge,” lawyer Ivan Abrams said. “Ms. Bowman is willing to enter into a settlement conference.”

Bowman, who lives in Sierra Vista, is charged with more than 40 felony counts of fraud, theft, money laundering and forgery. Sierra Vista Police Det. John Papatrefon said Bowman’s actions affected 10 clients who lost a little more than $1.2 million in penalties and interest assessed by the federal government.

In his probable cause report, Papatrefon wrote: “She would complete the paperwork (941 Form) showing she paid the payroll tax, but would actually take the money for her own use. During multiple interviews with Patricia Bowman, she admitted to taking money from her customers meant to pay the federal and state income tax bills beginning in 2012.

“The amounts of money she would steal were small in the beginning and she could pay them back. After years of taking money, it snowballed into much larger amounts and she could not catch up and she closed the doors to her business on October 1, 2019.”

A 941 form is an employer’s quarterly Federal Tax Return and is used to report income taxes, Social Security tax or Medicare tax withheld from employee’s paychecks.

An internet search of Bowman’s business, Daystar Payroll LLC, which she purchased in 1996, shows the services provided included payroll report preparation 1099 and W-2 preparation, workman’s compensation reports and direct deposit services.

Police said her offenses were committed from January 2012 to October 2019. That’s when Bowman, according to investigators, faked tax documents and provided false paperwork to her clients so she could embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Papatrefon started investigating Bowman longer than a year ago. He recently filed more fraud charges against her in the same case.

At a hearing in February, Cardinal agreed to release Bowman from jail and told the defendant’s husband, Paul Bowman, that he would be responsible for ensuring her appearance at all her court hearings. Cardinal also told Paul Bowman the defendant was not to leave Cochise County unless she had to see her doctor or attorney.

At the time, Bowman was being held on a $200,000 bond that was reduced even though assistant prosecutor Rachel Raynes had argued Bowman was a flight risk because she is facing prison.

Cardinal ordered that the settlement conference be held Oct. 8 in Division VI under Cochise County Superior Court Judge Terry Bannon.

A review hearing in the case has been scheduled for Oct. 11.