Former tax official gets probation in embezzlement case

BERNALILLO,. N.M. (AP) — A former head of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department has been sentenced to five years of probation for her convictions in an embezzlement case.

A state District Court judge for Sandoval County last week sentenced former Secretary Demesia Padilla on her June jury convictions for embezzlement and computer access with intent to defraud or embezzle.

Padilla faced up to 18 years in prison but Judge Cindy Mercer suspended all prison time for Padilla and imposed five years of supervised probation, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Along with the probation term, Padilla must complete 200 hours of community service and pay over $25,000 in restitution to the embezzlement victims, a Bernalillo family which owned a grading company that used Padilla’s accounting firm.

Padilla, an appointee of then-Gov. Susana Martinez, resigned her Cabinet post in December 2016 after Attorney General’s Office investigators searched the tax agency for tax documents connected with Padilla and her husband. She was charged about 18 months later.

Many of the original charges were dismissed as being too vague.