DES employee, Phoenix cop accused in theft of cash and guns

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Autumn Maya (left) and Michael Maya, arrested for theft of money and firearms from the Arizona Department of Economic Security. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Autumn Maya (left) and Michael Maya, arrested for theft of money and firearms from the Arizona Department of Economic Security. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Autumn Maya (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Autumn Maya (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Michael Maya (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Michael Maya (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

An employee with the Department of Economic Security (DES) and her husband, a Phoenix PD detective, were arrested for theft, fraud and money laundering among other charges by Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers Wednesday.

Arizona DPS said they were provided with information by DES of potential criminal activity by an employee.

[RELATED: Ousted DES director talks firings, staff parties, and gun stockpile]

According to DPS, Autumn Maya, a detective with DES, is alleged to have stolen over $3,000 in cash and multiple firearms and body cameras from DES. DPS said Autumn pawned the stolen items at various pawn shops around the Valley. 

Her spouse, Michael Maya was also charged as a co-conspirator and booked for trafficking stolen property, money laundering and conspiracy. 

Sgt. Jonathan Howard with Phoenix Police Department confirmed that Michael has been a detective with Phoenix police for about 24 years, and due to his recent arrest, Phoenix PD have begun the process to terminate him. 

Court documents state that DES employees had placed over $3,000 in cash in a signed and sealed envelope in a large safe at the DES office in December of 2016. The money was previously used as Evidence Acquisition Funds for undercover detectives to use during investigations.

[READ MORE: Gov. Ducey says confidence in DES director 'shaken']

In November of 2017, an employee entered the safe to retrieve the money to be used for a future investigation. The employee opened the envelope and found that the cash had been replaced with white copy paper cut to the size of dollar bills. 

The employee alerted their supervisor who told DPS.

DPS then interviewed Autumn and other employees and said that Autumn was defensive and said she never touched the envelope and didn't even know the envelope existed until it was reported although she had access to the safe, documents state.

DPS conducted an analysis of the envelope and found Autumn's fingerprints on the sticky side of the scotch tape seal and inside of the envelope, contradicting her story that she never touched the envelope and did not know it existed. 

[RELATED: DPS confirms weapons stockpile seized at government agency]

DPS detectives said Autumn's fingerprints could not have been transferred to any of these locations on the envelope or within the envelope by simply moving the envelope within the safe. 

Documents state that after DPS identified Autumn as the primary suspect in the case, a records check was performed on her and it was found that she had pawned several firearms and body cameras to several different pawn shops in the Phoenix area.

After investigating the pawn shop transactions, DPS found that the firearms and body cameras all belonged to DES based on their serial numbers.

Additionally, in a search of Autumn's outside trashcan at her house, DPS found multiple receipts of transactions at the matching pawn shops.

Autumn was then placed on administrative leave and was asked to turn in her weapons. Autumn told her supervisor that the guns were at her mother's house in a safe that she did not have the keys to and would not be able to turn her weapons in until the following day. 

DPS said this claim was made by Autumn to buy herself some time to buy the guns back from the pawn shop. 

Employees at the pawn shops were able to pick Autumn's husband Michael out of a photo line up and said that he was with her during these transactions and paid to get the guns back. 

DPS interviewed Michael and he claimed to not know that the firearms were property of DES. DPS concluded that because Michael was positively identified at several of the pawn shops and that he paid to get the items back so she could return them to DES, he knew the items were state property.

DPS said Autumn has been with DES since August 2016. Documents state that Autumn previously worked for the Arizona Attorney General's (AAG) office as a property custodian. 

The AAG's office was informed by DES of this investigation because there were concerns that the AAG may be missing property as well. Documents state that when Autumn left the AAG's office in July 2017, she was asked to turn in her duty weapon.

The AAG said she turned in the wrong weapon because the serial numbers did not match. Autumn was notified and apologized and said that she accidentally gave them her brother-in-law's gun.

The following week she turned in the correct gun which was later found out by DPS to have also been pawned by Autumn using her maiden name. 

Autumn has been booked on multiple charges including theft, fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and forgery. Michael has been booked and charged as a co-conspirator on trafficking stolen property, money laundering and conspiracy charges. 

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