Former Executive Director of Albuquerque-Based Halfway House Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison for Conviction on Embezzlement and Tax Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Robin Cash, 56, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced this morning to 24 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for her conviction on embezzlement and tax charges. Cash also was ordered to pay $202,775 in restitution to the victim of her criminal conduct and $66,575 in tax loss for years 2008 to 2010 to be paid directly to the IRS. Cash’s sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough and Dawn Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation.
Cash was charged in a seven-count indictment with four counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, and three counts of willful failure to file a tax return. At the time of the offenses charged in the indictment, 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 court filings, 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.
On May 15, 2013, Cash entered a guilty plea to all seven counts in the indictment without the benefit of a plea agreement. In entering her guilty plea, Cash 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 admitted that she failed to file federal income returns for calendar years 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred J. Federici.