Jal, N.M., Accountant Pleads Guilty to Federal Fraud and Identity Theft Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Roger L. Baeza, 31, of Jal, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to 78 counts of securities fraud, one count of access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales, Carol K.O. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and Chief Robert W. Shilling of the New Mexico State Police.
Baeza was charged with fraud and identity fraud offenses in an 81-count indictment filed in Oct. 2012. The indictment alleged that Baeza defrauded two Jal-based businesses, Lea Energy Services, LLC, and Fulfer Oil & Cattle Company, LCC, of more than $500,000 between June 2010 and Feb. 2012, while he was employed as the in-house accountant by the owners of the two businesses. Today, Baeza pled guilty to all but one count of the indictment, an aggravated identity theft charge.
In his plea agreement, Baeza admitted from June 4, 2010 to Feb. 27, 2012, he embezzled approximately $311,960.08 from his employers’ companies by issuing checks on company accounts for cash or for goods and services for his personal use. Baeza also admitted that he covered up his fraudulent conduct by modifying the companies’ accounting records to indicate that the checks had been issued for legitimate purposes.
Baeza also admitted that from June 4, 2010 to Feb. 27, 2012, he used a company credit card issued in the names of his employers to receive payments and items of value in the aggregate amount of $189,267.02. Finally, Baeza admitted using his employer’s name and identity in Feb. 2011, to issue and sign a check on a company account in the amount of $5000.00 and using the money for his personal use.
At sentencing, Baeza faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison on each of the 78 securities fraud and access device fraud charges. On the aggravated identity fraud charge, Baeza faces a penalty of two years in prison to be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the fraud charges. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Baeza will be ordered to pay $501,927.10 in restitution to the victims of his criminal conduct. Baeza is in federal custody and will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Roswell office of the FBI and the New Mexico State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Cairns.