Las Cruces woman pleads guilty to wire fraud and fraudulent tax returns


Date: February 1, 2021


Albuquerque, NM — Sandra Roberto of Las Cruces, New Mexico, pleaded guilty in federal court on Jan. 29 to wire fraud and fraudulent tax returns stemming from an embezzlement scheme.

According to court records, from 2011 to 2018, Roberto used her position in the accounting department for Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) to embezzle over a million dollars. As MVT's primary contact with two third-party payment processors, Roberto deposited checks ranging from $400 to $975 into her personal bank account. Upon discovering her embezzlement scheme, MVT terminated her employment in 2018.

In addition to wire fraud, Roberto also falsified her income tax returns by failing to report any of the illegally embezzled funds to the IRS. For example, in 2017, Roberto embezzled $217,260, but only reported $31,932 as taxable income. The Form 1040, U.S. Individual Tax Return includes a declaration that the information is reported under the penalties of perjury.

Roberto faces up to 20 years in prison.

The IRS Criminal Investigation and FBI investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ry Ellison and Richard C. Williams are prosecuting the case.