Crime

Sandia Labs employee allegedly used gov't credit card for Amazon purchases

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Federal agents tore through the home of a Sandia Labs employee, seizing thousands of dollars worth of stuff, including his wife's wedding ring.

Investigators believe he used his lab-issued, government credit card to make hundreds of purchases on Amazon and tried to cover it up.

According to federal court documents, Joshua Cordova had been trusted with several Sandia Labs purchase cards, or "p-cards," since 2014. Yet, an investigation by the Department of Energy shows that may have been a bad idea.

A "prime" spree allegedly took place on taxpayer dollars to fill Cordova's South Valley home with items worth upwards of thousands of dollars each.

A special agent says Cordova works in Sandia's Advanced Field Operations and Robotics Division, training law enforcement bomb squads and military EOD.

The feds say for years, Cordova has been able to purchase job-related items on his p-card, but a recent internal review by Sandia of company credit card charges turned up red flags.

What Cordova claimed was a tri-pod, weapon mount and tool set, investigators say was really his wife's $3,400 engagement ring.

It's a similar story for her wedding band, a 55-inch TV, barber chairs, a table, tires and a trampoline. Agents say they spotted that trampoline in his backyard while conducting surveillance on his home.

In total, agents say he spent $150,000 on at least 400 purchases from Amazon.

When a search warrant was executed on Dec. 18, agents seized many items, including the wife's rings.

KRQE News 13 visited Cordova's home Wednesday, but no one was there. News 13 also tried calling him. He answered, but would not answer questions about the investigation.

"I've been compliant with working with people, that's it. That's all I can say," he said.

He also asked us to wait before running this story, saying, "Can this wait some time? As far as like, a week? Because I won't be around... because if you're going to be posting something and I'm still there then I gotta deal with it."

Sandia Labs confirmed Cordova submitted his resignation on Jan. 2.

Sandia Labs sent KRQE News 13 this statement about the allegations:

Sandia National Laboratories takes stewardship of taxpayer money seriously and we do our utmost to ensure that federal funds are spent properly. Sandia uncovered the alleged suspicious activity, reported it to the proper federal authorities, and we are cooperating fully with all inquiries into this matter.

Cordova has not been officially charged at this time, but the search warrant related to the case says the seizure of these items is related to conspiracy, wire fraud and embezzlement.

Cordova has no prior criminal record in New Mexico.

Sandia Labs says it does not believe his wife had any involvement in the allegations.


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