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Local judges sidestep state police fraud case; Roswell lieutenant charged with seven counts of fraudulent overtime


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New case records indicate both Chaves County magistrate judges have recused themselves from a case involving seven felony counts against a former member of the New Mexico State Police Tuesday.

Former New Mexico State Police Lt. Gary L. Smith, of Roswell, was charged in July 2016 with three felony counts of receiving public money for services not rendered, three felony counts of making a false public voucher and one felony count of fraud.
Smith is accused of claiming and receiving three separate five-hour overtime payments for operations he did not work, each in the amount of $196.17. Authorities said in total, $588.51 was stolen from the overtime fund administered by New Mexico State Police.
According to a statement of probable cause, New Mexico State Police Capt. Eric Schum investigated the case.
Schum eventually learned state police had previously conducted an internal investigation. Three witnesses during the prior investigation were sergeants within the department.
“All three sergeants wrote internal department memos regarding this case,” his statement read. “(A sergeant’s) memo alleged that there were eight different dates in 2016, between May 17 and August 25, when Lt. Gary Smith falsely claimed that he worked overtime operations.”
The investigating captain then looked into the individual dates of received overtime payments. July, 19, 2016, Aug. 11, 2016 and Aug. 16, 2016.

On the first date in July, Smith had turned in an overtime form claiming he had worked five hours of overtime at an operation in Lincoln County.
“However, when I talked to (a sergeant), he told me that he worked the July 19, 2016 operation and he knew that Gary Smith was not at that operation,” the captain wrote.
The statement of probable cause also said another sergeant inadvertently saw Smith’s timesheet and that Smith had claimed he worked the overtime operation, which “seemed suspicious” to the accidentally observant sergeant.
State police also examined cellphone records of the former lieutenant. The hours of the overtime operation in Lincoln County on July 19, 2016 were from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“Smith’s phone records showed that his workcell phone was in Roswell, Chaves County, at 3:19 p.m.,” the captain wrote.
In an interview with the NMSP captain conducting the investigation, the report said Gary Smith admitted that he falsely claimed overtime two different times in 2016.
“(Smith) did not remember the exact date of the second incident, but he was fairly sure it happened in July 2016,” the captain wrote.
Smith was asked through his attorney if he wanted to make any statements about the date of August 16, 2016. Smith did not.
The case is being prosecuted by a Fifth Judicial District Attorney, with Doug Jones Witt as the Defense attorney.
According to trial records, a certificate of excusal/recusal was filed Tuesday, recusing Magistrate judges K.C. Rogers and E. J. Fouratt.
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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