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New Mexico’s ex-tax secretary arraigned in corruption case

July 13, 2018
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Demesia Padilla, middle, the former secretary of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, husband Jessie Medina, right, and defense attorney Paul Kennedy appear in district court, Friday, July 13, 2018 in Santa Fe, N.M. Padilla entered no plea pending future evidentiary hearings on embezzlement and corruption charges related to her time in office. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The former head of New Mexico’s Taxation and Revenue Department was arraigned Friday on embezzlement and corruption charges.

Demesia Padilla appeared in state District Court to face felony counts of embezzlement, computer access with intent to defraud and engaging in an official act for personal gain, along with five misdemeanor charges linked to ethics violations.

Defense attorney Paul Kennedy said a plea was not appropriate because there was no showing yet of probable cause. Padilla was release pending evidentiary hearings that were scheduled in late October.

Padilla resigned in 2016 after state investigators raided tax department offices. Attorney General Hector Balderas’s office said that Padilla advocated as tax secretary for abatement of a tax penalty against a former client of her accounting firm.

The investigation stems from complaints sent to a fraud hotline at the state auditor’s office in 2015 and letters from unidentified department employees.

Padilla became the state’s top taxation official in fellow Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s cabinet in January 2011.

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