$500,000 embezzlement victims in Cabot: ‘You can’t fathom this scale’

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CABOT, Ark.- A woman faces multiple charges after police say she embezzled $500,000 from her former employer, a family-owned business in Cabot.

“I knew in my heart, something is wrong,” Karla Love says.

Karla and her husband, Michael own Stedfast Heat and Air. They started the company out of their own home back in 1993.

“We lived in a mobile home, had a little shop in the back and just going out on a prayer and a whim that we’re going to make it,” Karla says.

In 1998, the moved the business to its current location, along Second Street in Cabot.

For the most part, things have gone well. Until about three months ago when finances turned into fear.

Money wasn’t adding up. The Loves say their office bookkeeper was writing checks for cash then recording it as vendor expenses. They got the police involved, which led to the arrest of Brandy Higgins.

The Loves say Higgins worked as their bookkeeper and office manager at Stedfast for about six years. She was fired back in November after the couple noticed some money missing. But, after that, they discovered the amount she stole was more than they expected. It resulted in a detailed investigation and Higgins’ arrest on Wednesday.

Police say Higgins embezzled $500,000 from the business, but the Loves believe it was actually more than that.

“You can’t fathom this scale,” Michael says.

The Loves say they’ve been forced to refinance their business and press pause on retirement.

“It was hard,” Karla says.

“When somebody’s very good at covering it up, it’s hard to find.”

The couple now finds themselves trying to recover and also trying to survive.

Higgins was booked into jail on several charges including credit card fraud and theft, according to a police report.

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