SIERRA VISTA — An 11-month investigation by police has netted a Sierra Vista woman who investigators say bilked her clients out of more than $1 million through her payroll company.
Patricia “Trish” Bowman was arrested Tuesday and is being held at the Cochise County Jail on $200,000 bond. Bowman is charged with 41 felonies on charges of fraud, theft, money laundering and forgery.
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 Daystar Payroll LLC and faked tax documents and provided false paperwork to her clients so she could embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Bowman’s actions have affected 10 clients who have lost just over $1.2 million in penalties and interest assessed by the federal government, said Sierra Vista Police spokesman Corporal Scott Borgstadt.
In his probable cause report, Sierra Vista Detective John 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 concern, which she purchased in 1996, shows that the services Daystar provided included payroll report preparation 1099 and W-2 preparation, workman’s compensation reports, and direct deposit services.
Sierra Vista police detectives have been investigating Bowman and her former company, Daystar Payroll LLC, since last February.
“She came in for an interview (on Tuesday) and we arrested her afterward,” Borgstadt said.
Last April, Papatrefon said that Bowman, at that time, had embezzled $500,000 from her victims. That’s when Papatrefon forwarded the case to the Cochise County Attorney’s Office.
The $500,000 — which was pilfered from eight victims — was the amount stolen by Bowman “before penalties and interest,” the investigator told the Herald/Review.
Bowman, who stated on her website that she attended schools in Sierra Vista after moving here when she was 11, also wrote: “I love what I do and really enjoy the close relationship that I have with my clients. I look forward to many more years!”
Last year, Mark Browning, a CPA in Sierra Vista, told the Herald/Review that he represented one of the victims in the Bowman investigation. Browning said Victor Lopez, who owns Sonora River Electric, came to him after losing money to Bowman and her company.
Papatrefon confirmed Lopez was one of the eight victims in the case last year.
According to the probable cause report, the companies Bowman left in the lurch include Canyon State Wireless, Sonora River Electric LLC, Affiliated Dental, ISC Consulting Group, Kingkogan Custom Construction, Valley Imaging Solutions, Wicked Limitz, TAV Concrete, Potvin Wolfe Enterprises LLC (Hoppin Grapes) and Sonora Painting.
Anyone with information about these victims, or any other victims who have not come forward, are asked to call Detective Papatrefon, 520-452-7500.