AZ DPS officer convicted in embezzlement case - WNEM TV 5

AZ DPS officer convicted in embezzlement case

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An Arizona Department of Public Safety officer and his wife face multiple years in prison on convictions stemming from the wife's embezzlement of $175,000 from her employer.

A Santa County Superior Court jury in Nogales on Monday convicted Horacio and Carmen Lomeli of conspiracy, money laundering and theft.

The Attorney General's Office says the Lomelis face mandatory prison terms of between 4 1/2 and 23 years on each count.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 3.

According to prosecutors, between September 2004 and June 2009, Carmen Lomeli fraudulently wrote, endorsed and deposited stolen Sierra Seed business checks into the couple's joint checking account.

During the same five-year period, the Lomeli's laundered the stolen funds through a series of personal expenditures for their mutual benefit, prosecutors said.

The theft of company monies jeopardized the financial stability of Sierra Seed, during its efforts to obtain business loans for expansion during an economic recession. Carmen Lomeli misrepresented the stolen money as legitimate earned income on an August 2006 application to qualify for a home loan for the couple two months after they had emerged from Chapter 13 bankruptcy, prosecutors said. 

Carmen Lomeli also was convicted of mortgage fraud for her conduct in fraudulently obtaining this loan.

The DPS put Horacio Lomeli on paid administrative leave, after he was indicted in June 2012. Spokesman Bart Graves says DPS will review Lomeli's job status now that he's been convicted.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved.  CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) contributed to this report.

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