Suspect pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge

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FARMINGTON — A Flora Vista man accused of five felony charges for forging a signature on real estate paperwork then ordering an employee to dispose of property from the victim's residence has agreed to a plea agreement.

Scott Bird, 59, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property during a hearing Tuesday in Aztec District Court, according to court documents.

He was accused of second-degree felony counts of disposing of stolen property, larceny, forgery; a third-degree felony count of residential burglary along with a fourth-degree felony count of criminal damage to property, according to The Daily Times archives.

Bird was accused of forging a signature on a real estate transaction and ordering an employee of his real estate business to enter a residence to remove and dispose of the victim's property, according to court documents.

Steve Murphy, Bird's attorney, told The Daily Times in November 2017 his client was trying to help the male victim by taking ownership of the property to help him avoid defaulting on mortgage payments.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office investigated the case.

Murphy told The Daily Times Wednesday his client wanted to accept responsibility for the property thrown away while cleaning out the residence and agreeing to the plea agreement was the quickest and easiest way to resolve the case.

The arrest warrant affidavit stated the victim's sister had moved her brother into a senior center in Ignacio, Colorado, after he became ill and planned to surrender the residence to Bird.

The value of the property disposed of from the residence was estimated at $21,946, according to court documents.

Bird has paid the victim $12,000 as restitution for the property, according to Murphy.

Dustin O'Brien, Chief Deputy District Attorney for the San Juan County District Attorney's Office, said the victim negotiated the amount of restitution with Bird. He added the victim was "good" with the restitution as long as it was paid upfront.

The plea agreement states the San Juan County District Attorney's Office did not oppose a suspended sentence with unsupervised probation and a conditional discharge of the conviction.

Bird could avoid a conviction on his criminal record if he completes probation.

A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled in the case.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

More: Man accused of forging signature on real estate paperwork

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