NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A judge has found former New Mexico cabinet secretary Demesia Padilla guilty of embezzlement. Padilla served as the Tax and Revenue Department secretary under former Governor Susana Martinez.

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“Small businesses are undoubtedly the lifeblood of New Mexico’s economy and should not be stifled by internal corruption,” said Attorney General Balderas in a news release. “We are pleased to secure justice for the significant economic harm to the victims, and we will hold any person in a position of power accountable for unlawful conduct.” 

Late Friday evening, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced jurors believed Padilla did steal more than $25,000 from a grading and trucking firm in Bernalillo while acting as cabinet secretary. An AG investigation revealed she linked her personal credit card to the business’ checking account.

Padilla claimed she was owed that money for her work but the business owners repeatedly said on the stand that she never had permission to take any of that money. Ahead of the jury’s decision Friday afternoon, Padilla took the stand and got aggressive when asked about an installment agreement for the firm to pay her money.

Padilla will be sentenced at a later date. She is also facing charges in a separate case where she’s accused of pressuring her Tax and Revenue employees to bury an audit of the trucking company in order to hide her crimes. That case is currently in appeal.