They are charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting customers at the MVD since, New Mexico State Police said, the suspects confessed.
On Special Assignment, KRQE News 13 obtained the emotional police interviews with former Fort Sumner employees Alisha Segura and Tianna Gallegos.
“Wait… before I get arrested, are you gonna tell me?” Segura can be heard asking police on the audio recording.
“I’ve been… waiting for this for a long time… guilty conscience,” Gallegos told detectives.
The women were not surprised when NMSP interviewed them, one by one, in January.
“I knew what happened, you know. Well, I knew what was reported,” Segura said.
“We got a lot of people mad at us, and they want answers,” a detective explained.
Fort Sumner resident Brenda Crocker is one of those people.
“I want my title fixed. I mean, I still want my title fixed,” she told KRQE News 13.
The local Motor Vehicle Division office had been closed for a year after the state shut it down unexpectedly and, one after another, people discovered the titles and registrations they had paid for in cash at that Fort Sumner office didn’t exist.
They were bogus.
“It weakens our faith in the government. It weakens our faith in where you do everyday business,” Crocker said.
Before facing charges for embezzling a total of more than $40,000 between the two of them, Gallegos and Segura faced police.
“I’m trying to find out from you what happened,” a detective told Segura, who was interviewed first.
“I honestly don’t know. I really don’t,” she responded.
At first, Segura pled ignorance.
“I don’t know,” she said.
“You don’t know?” the detective asked.
“I don’t know,” she repeated.
Gallegos blamed glitches in the state’s MVD computer system.
“A lot of vehicles fall out in the system,” she told detectives.
However, she didn’t seem to understand her own explanation.
“I don’t know what ‘falling out’ actually means. That’s what I was told,” Gallegos explained.
Gallegos only worked at the office for six months. She was trained by Segura, who worked there for more than a year.
They’re accused of taking money from customers, giving people new titles and registrations and then voiding the transactions after the customers left.
“So, then, what happens to that money since it’s cash?” a detective asked Segura.
“If it’s reversed and the customer’s not there? Then it’s probably pocketed,” she responded.
“Okay. Is that what happened here?” a detective asked.
Segura did not immediately respond.
“If it happened, it happened. We don’t understand what you were going through,” a detective said.
“Am I gonna go to jail?” Segura asked.
The detectives told Segura that after logging in, the MVD computer system kept track of every keystroke she made.
“The customer leaves. You go back an hour later, 30 minutes later, whatever. Click on this person’s name, refund, check payment, refund it and it’s all cash,” a detective said, explaining what the evidence showed.
“It happened. I have two kids. I don’t wanna go to jail. I will pay back everything,” Segura said.
Segura came clean.
“I did. I voided the transactions,” she told police.
Later that day, Gallegos admitted to doing the same.
“So where did that money go?” a detective asked Gallegos.
“Uh, with me,” she responded.
“With who?” a detective repeated the question.
“With me,” she confirmed.
Police said the embezzlement had been going on for a year before anyone noticed.
So, what finally tipped someone off?
“It’s ‘cause she made this stinkin’ mistake,” Segura told police, blaming Gallegos. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry to say that. She made a mistake.”
While the state had oversight, the Village of Fort Sumner ran the office with village employees.
The village was collecting a $2 administrative fee for every transaction, but Segura said Gallegos wasn’t doing that. Then, she said, the village noticed when that pot of money got suspiciously low.
“That’s why I didn’t want to work there anymore. I knew it was gonna catch up,” Segura said.
They said they needed the money to support their families although, now, it appears to be doing more to disrupt their families.
“Stupidity. A lot of stupidity… because I do have children… and, I mean, if anything happens, my children are the ones that would go without me,” Gallegos said. “So, my own fault, you know.”
“I’ll pay back the money, just please don’t let me go to jail. I have two kids,” Segura told police.
Segura and Gallegos were booked into jail two weeks later.
They have since been released as they await trial.
The investigation also revealed a huge security concern—the women admitted their usernames and passwords for the system to access information on New Mexico drivers were kept on sticky notes, left out in the open at a computer.
The MVD office in Fort Sumner has been closed since December 2016. Instead of a village-run office, De Baca County is now working with the state to open a new MVD location in Fort Sumner.
The De Baca County Clerk told News 13 that the office is under construction and should be ready to open by the end of April or the beginning of May if all goes as planned.