Date: March 17, 2021 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ALBUQUERQUE, NM — George Martinez, of Albuquerque, made an initial appearance in federal court today, charged in an indictment with 42 counts of wire fraud, six counts of money laundering and 42 counts of identity theft. An arraignment is scheduled for March 19. A federal grand jury indicted Martinez on March 12. According to the indictment, from May 18, 2011, through July 16, 2018, Martinez allegedly used his position as the Unit Supervisor/Bureau Chief of the Questionable Refund Unit at the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department to fraudulently alter tax refunds and direct them to bank accounts that he controlled. "When officials who are responsible for collecting taxes corruptly manipulate the system for their own benefit, it undermines the public's confidence in all aspects of government," said Acting United States Attorney Fred J. Federici III. "Fraud involving the tax system, as alleged in this indictment, deprives the State of needed revenues and increases the tax burden on all law-abiding New Mexicans. The prosecution of corrupt public officials is a high priority for the U.S. Attorney's Office." "These charges should assure New Mexico residents that public servants will be investigated and charged for any alleged criminal activity," stated IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Ismael Nevarez Jr. "Everyone who holds a position of trust must be held to the highest standard." "Public service is an honor and a privilege; use of that service to benefit one's self at the expense of the people undermines the trust of the people," said Scott A. Rago, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office. "To restore that trust, the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation worked closely to bring the defendant to justice, sending a clear message that the breach of public trust will not be tolerated." An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Martinez faces a minimum of two years and up to 22 years in prison. The IRS Criminal Investigation Phoenix Field Office and the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department's Tax Fraud Investigations Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Schied is prosecuting the case.