A fraud investigator for the New Mexico Tax and Revenue Department has just been indicted on criminal charges, including fraud.
The charges stem from his time as an Albuquerque cop, where he was accused of working phantom overtime.
These charges come more than two years after he was first accused of time card fraud with the Albuquerque Police Department.
“It’s about time,” said Thomas Grover.
Grover is an attorney for a current APD officer who blew the whistle on a sergeant for logging hundreds of hours he never worked to make more than $15,000 in overtime.
That sergeant was James Geha. Grover says today has been a long time coming.
“This guy, he departs from APD, gets a glowing recommendation from Chief Eden in order to secure that job with Taxation and Revenue,” he said.
In late 2016, then-Chief Gorden Eden, under Mayor Berry, recommended firing Geha but he never reported the misconduct to the state’s Law Enforcement Academy. So, Geha was able to keep his law enforcement certification.
KRQE News 13 asked the new chief’s office why it was never reported to the LEA.
“It’s not clear. We assumed that they did do that, and just notified yesterday that it hadn’t happened,” said APD Spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos.
Now, Geha has been indicted on 10 charges ranging from embezzlement, fraud, and receiving public money for services not rendered – all felonies.
“There are fire-able offenses and now he’s been indicted. It seems clear that the law enforcement board should consider taking away his certification,” said Gallegos.
Geha went on to get a job as a fraud investigator with the Tax and Revenue Department, after receiving great references at APD, amid the investigation.
“There was just high kudos from all three people that I spoke to. What a great job he did. What a great employee he was. No one ever indicated that there were ever any type of issues,” said Lilia Ruiz, the Director of Tax Fraud Investigations.
Tax and Revenue says it’s now in the process of firing Geha. He has been on paid leave since the beginning of this month, after KRQE News 13’s story on how his case had fallen through the cracks.
APD says it now has a computerized system to help the validity of overtime hours.