Former Executive Director Of Albuquerque-Based Halfway House Pleads Guilty to Federal Embezzlement and Tax Offenses
ALBUQUERQUE – Robin Cash, 56, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to a seven-count indictment charging her with four counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, and three counts of willful failure to file a tax return. Cash entered her guilty plea without the benefit of any plea agreement. Cash’s guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and Dawn Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation.
At the time of the offenses to which she pleaded guilty, Cash was employed as the Executive Director of the La Pasada Halfway House (La Pasada), a residential center in Albuquerque that provides housing for defendants in the federal criminal justice system, including those awaiting trial and those who are re-entering society after serving a prison sentence. Court filings reflect that the Pretrial Services Office (PTS) of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico contracted with the not-for-profit corporation that operates La Pasada to cover the costs of providing a custodial residential environment for federal defendants. PTS made monthly payments of approximately $60,000 to $80,000 to La Pasada to cover these costs, and La Pasada deposited the funds in its business bank account.
According to the indictment, after Cash became Executive Director of La Pasada in April 2008, she was added as a signatory on the halfway house’s business bank account and received a debit card for the account. Between Sept. 2008 and Jan. 2011, Cash made unauthorized debits to La Pasada’s business bank account and used the proceeds for her own benefit and not for La Pasada’s benefit. The unauthorized debits included checks written for services that were never provided to La Pasada; ATM withdrawals at various Albuquerque locations, including casinos; and debit card charges at casinos in Las Vegas, Nev.
In April 2010, Cash opened a checking account and corresponding bank account in the name of La Pasada without authorization. Thereafter and until Feb. 2011, Cash regularly took funds that La Pasada residents were required to pay to defray their housing costs and deposited the funds into the unauthorized account. She then used the funds to pay for personal expenses that did not benefit La Pasada.
During today’s plea hearing, Cash pleaded guilty to Counts 1 through 4 of the indictment and admitted that, while acting as an agent of an organization that received at least $10,000 in funds on an annual basis under a federal program, she embezzled funds from the organization and converted those funds for her own use. Cash also pleaded guilty to Counts 5 through 7 of the indictment and admitted that she failed to federal file income returns for calendar years 2008, 2009 and 2010.
At sentencing, Cash faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison on each of the four theft offenses and a maximum penalty of one year in prison on each of the three tax offenses. Her sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.
The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson.