Farmington man accused of embezzling $10,000 on company fuel card

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A Farmington man is charged with embezzling approximately $10,000 in gas purchases on a fuel card issued by his former employer.

Jibran Hernandez-Rios, 28, is accused of a third-degree felony count of embezzlement, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.

Hernandez-Rios allegedly purchased $10,424.46 in gasoline on a fuel card issued to him by Kelley Oilfield Services Inc., 3601 N. 1st St. in Bloomfield, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

His attorney, M. David Chacon of Albuquerque, did not respond to a request for comment on March 8.

A San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputy was dispatched to the business on Jan. 29 in reference to suspected embezzlement.

Court documents say the deputy was told by a manager that Hernandez-Rios was a general labor employee and was issued a fuel card on March 10, 2020. The manager said while completing a routine audit, he noticed suspicious activity from June 16, 2020 through Jan. 27, 2021 on the card provided to Hernandez-Rios.

Jibran Hernandez-Rios

He explained further that records showed 84 card transactions, totaling $10,424.46, and each was made when Hernandez-Rios was not working, the documents state.

The information provided to the deputy listed 75 transactions, totaling $9,692.70, at gas stations in San Juan County while nine transactions, totaling $731.76, occurred outside the county.

Hernandez-Rios was working at the time when the deputy visited the business and he was requested by the manager to speak with the deputy.

When the deputy asked Hernandez-Rios about the matter, he told the deputy that he "used the card to buy gas for his own vehicles," according to the arrest warrant affidavit. Hernandez-Rios kept talking to the deputy after being read his Miranda rights and provided some information about purchases made at gas stations in Bloomfield, Aztec and Farmington.

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He eventually told the deputy that his wife was unaware that he was using the fuel card for personal usage and that he would fill a drag tank to give gas to a family member and some friends, the court documents state.

The manager terminated Hernandez-Rios' employment and told the deputy that the business wished to file formal charges unless Hernandez-Rios could pay back the amount in full.

Hernandez-Rios said he did not have the money and "believes" the amount he is accused of embezzling was "too high," the affidavit states.

An arrest warrant was issued on Jan. 29 and he was taken into custody on March 2, then booked into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center that day.

Hernandez-Rios did not enter a plea on March 3 in Aztec Magistrate Court and was released on his own recognizance.

A preliminary hearing in Aztec Magistrate Court is scheduled on March 11.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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