Thursday, July 29, 2010

Husband Indicted on Charges related to wife's embezzlement of New Mexico school funds

The widower of ex-Jemez Mountain School District business manager Kathy Borrego will follow his wife’s footsteps into state District Court to face felony charges related to Borrego’s tenure with the District.The indictment (see sidebar) handed down July 21 by the Rio Arriba County grand jury accuses Jerry Archuleta, 49. of Abiquiú, of failing to pay a total of $5,448 in taxes between 2005 and 2008, and of knowingly making or receiving a $28,675.56 payment Oct. 25, 2007, from public funds for services not rendered. The date and amount of the latter payment correspond with a District check Borrego admitted to fraudulently writing Archuleta in her February 2010 plea agreement.“At the time Defendant (Borrego) knew that Archuleta had not provided any services to or on behalf of the Jemez Mountain School District,” Borrego’s plea agreement reads. “Defendant further knew that Archuleta was not entitled to these monies.”Borrego herself pleaded guilty Feb. 16, 2010, to 11 felony charges stemming from reports she embezzled money from the District. She committed suicide May 8, 2010, two days before she was to be sentenced in state District Court in Santa Fe on those charges.Documents released by the District Attorney’s Office since then indicate Borrego stole just over $3.6 million.Archuleta is scheduled to appear Aug. 12, 2010, in front of Judge Sheri Raphaelson in state District Court in Tierra Amarilla.He is also named as a defendant in an ongoing civil lawsuit filed in January 2010 by the District and the state Public Schools Insurance Authority to recover the embezzled funds.Archuleta and his lawyer in the civil suit did not return calls for comment.More Checks from District and bank records raise further questions about Archuleta’s potential involvement in his wife’s embezzlement.District bank records show 13 checks worth $39,506 were made out to Archuleta between August 2000 and December 2001. Those checks are in addition to the 2007 check, worth $28,675, Borrego admitted in her plea agreement to writing Archuleta.Two pairs of the earlier checks made out to Archuleta appear to follow a pattern similar to one Borrego used in her embezzlement in which multiple District checks with the same date and the exact same dollar amount were deposited into personal bank accounts. Two checks with Archuleta's signature, both dated Oct. 24, 2001, for $3,543.72 a piece, and two others, both dated Dec. 11, 2001, for $9,600 each were deposited into an account at Del Norte Credit Union owned by Archuleta and Borego.Superintendent Manuel Medrano said the District does not keep invoices or other documentation beyond the seven years required in statute. That means determining the reasons behind the earlier Archuleta checks may never be clear.Pancho Guardiola, who was superintendent at the time, said he recalled the District hiring Archuleta to do some electrical work, but he couldn’t recall the exact dates of the work. Guardiola estimated the District might have paid about $10,000 for the job.“I know living out there a distance from the city it was hard to get electricians to come out,” Guardiola Board member Mark Valdez said he also recalled the District paying Archuleta for electrical work, possibly around the same time the $39,000 in checks showed up. But Valdez also doubted Archuleta did $39,000 worth of work.I just know that at the time we weren’t happy with the work that was done,” Valdez said. “It seemed like it was a pretty quick job and that was it.”All but two of the 13 Archuleta checks from the early 2000s bear one of two account numbers that correspond with account numbers on the backs of hundreds of checks Borrego admitted to depositing into joint accounts as part of her embezzlement.Those two accounts, both at Del Norte Credit Union, were owned by Archuleta and Borrego, according to bank records.A spreadsheet compiled by the District Attorney’s Office and the state Taxation and Revenue Department shows six figures of “additional income” in the couple’s bank accounts every year between 2005 and 2008, ranging from $355,000 in 2005 to over $800,000 in 2008.For example, Borrego and Archuleta made a combined $123,549 from their jobs in 2008 — $66,142 for Borrego and $57,407 for Archuleta, according to the spreadsheet. Investigators pinned an extra $862,212 that year in “additional income” on Borrego’s embezzlement, for a total taxable income of $911,684.District Attorney Angela Pacheco would not comment on the charges Archuleta is facing or the additional District checks to him from 2000 and 2001. She did confirm the statute of limitations, at the most six years for second-degree felonies, would prohibit criminal prosecution of any potential crimes committed in 2000 or 2001.Antonio Corrales, chief of staff for State Auditor Hector Balderas, said his office has not reviewed the couple’s personal bank records but said he doubted anyone could take in that much extra money without drawing attention from the community.“I believe they definitely did know,” Corrales said. “The thing I’m curious about is how did the banks react to this. In communities like this, the people all know one another. Was that something that was ever brought up?”

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