A judge has sentenced the second woman who pleaded guilty in a scheme to steal thousands of dollars from customers at the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).
Police arrested the two workers after KRQE News 13 started asking questions On Special Assignment earlier this year.
It affected hundreds of drivers, and now the women charged with the crime have faced the consequences in court.
Both Tianna Gallegos and Alisha Segura worked at the MVD office two years ago in Fort Sumner, a village about 60 miles west of Clovis.
That is when problems popped up with car titles and registrations that drivers, like Brenda Crocker, had paid for at the village MVD office before it suddenly shut down.
“I was informed, this car doesn’t even belong to you. The tags are bogus, the title’s bogus, the registration’s bogus,” Crocker said.
The women later admitted they’d been stealing from MVD customers, voiding transactions for registrations and titles when customers paid in cash and pocketing the money instead.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time… Guilty conscience,” Gallegos admitted in an interview with State Police.
“I’ll pay back the money, just please don’t let me go to jail. I have two kids,” Segura told police.
That decision ultimately was left up to a judge two months ago, after Segura pleaded guilty to felony charges of embezzlement and conspiracy to commit embezzlement for stealing about $30,000 from MVD customers.
“Ms. Segura, anything you wish to say?” De Baca County District Court Judge Albert Mitchell, Jr. asked.
“Nothing, your honor,” Segura responded.
Considering her cooperation with State Police and her clean record before this, Judge Mitchell, Jr. gave Segura five years of probation and ordered her to pay back the money she stole—at least 20 percent each year.
“The judge could have sent her to prison,” said Deputy District Attorney Ozymandias Adams. “It was wide open. I think the common thinking is that people in prison can’t pay restitution.”
Gallegos was charged with embezzling $9,000 and, although she’d never gotten in trouble before, she has since. She landed behind bars again this year because police say she had her young daughter in the car when she sold someone weed.
However, Gallegos and her attorney came to an agreement with the prosecutor a few weeks ago.
The drug case got thrown out, and she pleaded guilty to embezzlement like Segura.
She has to pay back the $9,000, and a judge put her on probation for four and a half years.
So, the two now have felony convictions on their records, but they both got off with no prison time.
Brenda Crocker calls it a slap on the wrist.
“It weakens our faith in the government. It weakens our faith in where you do everyday business,” she said.
While the Village of Fort Sumner employed Gallegos and Segura, the State of New Mexico was responsible for training and overseeing them at the MVD office there.
A spokesperson for the state’s Motor Vehicle Division says a computer system that exists now will prevent this from happening again by doing daily audits that will raise a red flag if someone is voiding transactions.