Former Employee of Bernalillo Public Schools Pleads Guilty to Federal Program Fraud Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Antoinette Garcia, 45, of Bernalillo, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to committing federal program fraud.
Garcia was indicted on June 28, 2017, and was charged with committing federal program fraud by embezzling federal education grant funds received by the Bernalillo Public Schools system between Jan. 2014 and Dec. 2015. According to the indictment, the Bernalillo Public Schools system received benefits in excess of $10,000 of federal education grants in 2014 and 2015. The indictment alleged that, during each of those two years, Garcia was an agent of the Bernalillo Public Schools system and embezzled and stole at least $5,000 that had been entrusted to the Schools system. The indictment alleged that Garcia committed the offenses in Sandoval County, N.M.
During today’s proceedings, Garcia pled guilty to the indictment, and admitted that in 2014 and 2015, she stole between $40,000 and $95,000 intended for the Bernalillo Public Schools system. Garcia admitted stealing funds that were intended to pay for childrens’ education and supplies, and by writing herself checks with school money instead of paying school-related expenses.
At sentencing, Garcia faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and restitution as ordered by the Court. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Mysliwiec.