Man ordered to pay $218,000 to Bloomfield company
Anthony Chavez was chief financial officer for Twin Star Inc.
FARMINGTON — An Upper Fruitland man has been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $218,000 in restitution for embezzling from a Bloomfield business.
Anthony Chavez, 34, was sentenced Thursday morning on a second-degree felony conviction of embezzlement during a hearing in Aztec District Court, according to court documents.
He pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement during a July 16 hearing and was sent to a state hospital for a presentence diagnostic evaluation following a Oct. 3 hearing, according to court records.
Chavez was convicted of using company credit cards belonging to Twin Star Inc., an equipment maintenance and natural gas compressor leasing company, according to The Daily Times archives.
Chief District Judge Karen Townsend sentenced Chavez to nine years in the New Mexico Department of Corrections, suspended four years of the sentence and ordered Chavez pay about $218,000 back to Twin Star, according to Dustin O'Brien, chief deputy district attorney for the San Juan County District Attorney's Office.
The DA's Office requested that Townsend sentence Chavez to the full nine years the conviction carries, O'Brien said
"It's unfortunate you can take that much money from someone, and the penalty just stops at nine years," O'Brien said.
Christian Hatfield, Chavez's attorney, said his client hoped for a suspended sentence in order to keep working and pay the restitution, but he respects the decision of the court.
Roger Armstrong, president of Twin Star, spoke to a detective for the Bloomfield Police Department on Sept. 14, 2017, and accused Chavez, the company's chief financial officer, of embezzling, according to court documents.
Armstrong told the detective he believed the purchases were made between Dec. 12, 2016; and Aug. 10, 2017.
Using bank statements, Armstrong told police he believed Chavez embezzled upward of $140,000 in personal purchases in that time using cards with Chavez's name on them.
The arrest warrant affidavit states Chavez told police he took a significant pay cut from $120,000 a year to $90,00 a year and never got a bonus he was promised, according to The Daily Times archives.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.