Former New Mexico State Contractor Pleads Guilty to Evading Federal Taxes
ALBUQUERQUE – Shelda Sutton Mendoza, 60, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty this morning to evading federal taxes. Under the terms of her plea agreement, Sutton Mendoza faces a prison sentence of 10 to 16 months in prison followed by not more than three years of supervised release. Sutton Mendoza also will be required to pay $167,362 in restitution to the IRS.
Sutton Mendoza was indicted in Dec. 2011, and charged with five counts of tax evasion. At the time of the crimes charged in the indictment, Sutton Mendoza was owner and sole shareholder of NYSNC Environmental, Inc. (NYSNC), an environmental clean-up and testing service established in 2000 and incorporated in Oct. 2003. NYSNC contracted primarily with the New Mexico Environmental Department, where Sutton Mendoza was employed in the Petroleum Storage Bureau for more than six years before leaving to establish NYSNC. The indictment charged Sutton Mendoza with evading federal personal and corporate taxes during tax years 2003, 2004 and 2005 by intentionally filing false tax returns that misrepresented her personal and corporate taxable income.
According to the plea agreement, Sutton Mendoza routinely used NYSNC funds to pay for personal expenses. In 2003 and 2004, she used more than $70,000.00 in company funds to pay for a custom designed in-ground swimming pool with custom mosaic murals and more than $200,000.00 in company funds to pay for personal clothing, handbags and cosmetics. Sutton Mendoza admitted that paying for personal expenses with company funds rendered the money taxable as personal income to her, and that she knowingly concealed from the IRS the extent of both NYSNC’s and her taxable income.
In her plea agreement, Sutton Mendoza admitted that for tax years 2003 and 2004, she signed and filed false personal and corporate federal tax returns which omitted significant personal and corporate income. She acknowledged intentionally filing a false tax return for NYSNC for calendar year 2003 in which she reported only $1,447,855.00 of the company’s gross income of $1,803,844.52, and thus evaded $17,021.00 in federal taxes. Sutton Mendoza also intentionally evaded $76,660.00 in personal income taxes for calendar year 2003 by underreporting her gross income of $261,152.00. For calendar year 2004, Sutton Mendoza reported only $851,998.00 of NYSNC’s gross income of $1,138,090.02, and thus evaded $2,121.00 in federal taxes. She also intentionally evaded $71,560.00 in personal income taxes in calendar year 2004 by underreporting her gross income of $250,580.00.
Sutton Mendoza’s sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
The case was investigated by IRS, Criminal Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary L. Higgins.