HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) – A southeast New Mexico attorney used to defending murderers, embezzlers and scammers is now facing charges of his own. It involves a client, his ex-wife, a death in state prison and an incriminating note. Authorities say it all started when Hobbs lawyer Ross Bettis represented Ron Kilman on domestic violence charges with his wife.
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Kilman eventually pled guilty and was sentenced to prison where he died of a heart attack in March of 2020. Kilman’s son, Don, noticed something was off when he saw his signature on a document, he says he never signed. He found it in the paperwork that Bettis had given him. Don made a report to Lovington Police.
“We reviewed the information to an extent gave advice to the law enforcement agency in order to do additional investigation as a result of what has come forward and provided to us from the investigator we approved and agreed that there is probable cause,” said Scot Key, district attorney of the Twelfth Judicial District.
According to the complaint, Bettis had told Don that his father had left everything to him when he passed but stated “there’s not much there,” where the family didn’t even know how much there was. Police say they later found out that close to $10,000 had been in his father’s account that they never saw.
Police also that his father’s ATM cards were being used to transfer money to Bettis’s personal bank account. Police also found paperwork that Bettis got Ron to sign a document giving him nearly $30,000 in back social security money. Police believe Bettis forged documents to have Ron cremated. Now, Bettis is facing fraud, forgery and larceny charges.
Lovington Police believe more charges could get filed because of forged signatures on state cremation records and are looking for more money that is missing. Bettis refused to interview with police. The case is now headed to district court and no trial date has been set.