ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A state tax official has pled guilty to federal charges for lining his pockets with taxpayer money. The crimes happened while George Martinez was chief of the Questionable Refund Unit for the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department. That meant he was responsible for making sure tax returns were above-board.

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However, between 2011 and 2018, he admits he was altering taxpayer information on returns and having bogus refunds deposited into his own accounts. Investigators uncovered $689,797 worth of fraudulent transactions. Martinez faces up to 32 years in federal prison on charges of wire fraud, identity theft, and money laundering.

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI Albuquerque Field Office and the IRS Criminal Investigation Phoenix Field Office investigated the case with assistance from the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department’s Tax Fraud Investigations Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeremy Peña and Paul Schied prosecuted the case.