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Former NM tax official sentenced 8 years for stolen tax money

Gino Gutierrez
U.S District Attorney Alex Uballez

46-year-old George Martinez, who was a former high-ranking official with the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department has been sentenced to nearly eight years in prison for a scheme to steal tax money.

Martinez pleaded guilty on Wednesday to more than 90 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft for shifting improper tax refunds into his own accounts.

He admitted in court documents to transferring around $690,000 in tax dollars to different bank accounts that he controlled.

Prosecutors said Martinez used the Social Security numbers of 11 different victims, seven of which were dead, one with dementia, his own mother and twin brother.

U.S attorneys also believe he stole about $1.2 million from the state. Martinez will be ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution to the state of New Mexico, along with the nearly $690,000 judgment.

FBI Albuquerque Special Agent-In-Charge Raul Bujanda commended the work of FBI, IRS, and U.S. Attorney's Office for their work to bring Martinez to justice and hopes this sentencing sends a message to anyone else considering abusing their public office for personal gain.

Gino Gutierrez
Albuquerque Special Agent-In-Charge Raul Bujanda

“We hope today’s sentencing sends a message to anyone in government who might be tempted to do wrong by the American people, the FBI and law enforcement partners will come after you and we’ll make you pay every single cent you take from our tax payers back.”

While at the Taxation and Revenue Department, Martinez was a unit supervisor and bureau chief of the Questionable Refund Unit.

In 2018, State tax and revenue officials said the department had launched an internal investigation into Martinez and then referred it to the FBI.

Martinez then left the department that year and was arrested in March of 2021.

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, he found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in multimedia journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. In addition to working at KSFR, Gino is a freelance photojournalist and can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the NA3HL New Mexico Ice Wolves.