BISBEE — The owner of a payroll services company who investigators said defrauded her clients of more than $1 million was released from the Cochise County Jail on Tuesday after her attorney assured a judge that she was not a flight risk and was suffering from scoliosis.
The lawyer representing Patricia Bowman, the owner of Daystar Payroll LLC, also told Cochise County Superior Court Judge Laura Cardinal that the bond his client was being held on — $200,000 — was usually reserved for violent criminals.
“My client has nowhere to go,” attorney Ivan Abrams told Cardinal regarding Bowman being a flight risk.
Abrams asked that Bowman be released to her husband or her parents, or that her bond be reduced to $25,000.
Prosecutor Rachel Raynes agreed that perhaps the $200,000 bond was too steep and asked for it to be set to $75,000, insisting that Bowman could be a flight risk because she is facing prison if convicted.
Bowman, who lives in Sierra Vista, is charged with 41 felonies for fraud, theft, money laundering and forgery. Sierra Vista Police Detective John Papatrefon said Bowman’s actions affected 10 clients who lost just 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.”
An internet search of Bowman’s business, which she purchased in 1996, shows the services Daystar provided included payroll report preparation 1099 and W-2 preparation, workman’s compensation reports and direct deposit services.
Police said her offenses were committed over a seven-year period from January 2012 to October 2019. That’s when Bowman, according to investigators, operated her company and faked tax documents and provided false paperwork to her clients so she could embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Sierra Vista Police began investigating Bowman and Daystar a year ago.
At the hearing Tuesday, Cardinal decided to release Bowman to the custody of her husband, Paul Bowman. The judge told him he is essentially responsible for making sure Bowman attends her court hearings and does not travel outside Cochise County, except only to see her attorney and her doctor.
Bowman’s trial, which Cardinal said would be a jury trial with eight jurors, is scheduled to begin on July 27 and is expected to last more than a week.