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Maintenance man testifies to embezzlement

December 17, 2009
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ALAMOSA, CO — A former maintenance man with the Alamosa Housing Authority testified yesterday that he embezzled $461,150 and gave nearly 80 percent of those funds to the former Alamosa Housing Authority executive director, according to the Pueblo Chieftan.
According to the story, investigators believe two additional employees on top of Presiliano Bonaficio Romero were involved in the eight-year scheme that directly benefited Patricia Martinez.
Romero admitted he embezzled from 1998 through 2006, and Martinez, who pled guilty last month, admitted embezzling $1.3 million from 1998 to 2007, the story stated.
According to the article, Romero was approached by Martinez for financial "favors," telling him the Alamosa Housing Authority''s maintenance superintendent wanted to fire him, but that she would protect his job if he provided her with embezzlement favors.
As noted in a 10-page plea agreement, some 300 checks were made payable to Romero''s family members, his girlfriend and to a welding business he operated and that he maintained control of the checks and the people to whom they were made payable were not aware of the scheme, the story noted.
Romero said: "I generally was influenced to do it by the director and then it just took off with greed. I knew it was totally wrong. It seemed to me no one would ever know. I''m sorry. I really am. I got caught up. I knew how to get out — I just didn''t. She had me at her mercy."
In exchange for his cooperation with authorities, Romero''s proposed 24-36 month prison sentence will likely be reduced while Martinez''s prison sentence will be between 78 and 97 months, the story added.
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