LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Las Cruces police arrested four former and current city employees accused of forgery and embezzlement.
Police arrested Albert Favela, 45; Edward L Tellez, 46; Inez Frank Giron, 34; and Christopher J. Bustamante, 45.
For months police investigated what was going on at the city fleet services department.
Police said the four employees worked at the mechanic shop there. According to city officials, the four cheated the city out of thousands of dollars.
"We have internal controls in the city that detected some anomalies with our fleet department," said City Manager Robert Garza.
Police said a closer look revealed forged work orders to bill the city for parts that were not used on city cars.
Detectives also discovered some parts were purchased for cars the city does not own.
"We take these sorts of things very seriously. This is the public trust that we're responsible for and I'm glad we detected the problem," Garza said.
Police said Favela was a supervisor and asked employees to forge the documents. Then police said Favela would use the parts for mechanic work he did on the side.
Favela is facing the most charges with four counts each of forgery and embezzlement. Tellez and Giron are each charged with two counts of forgery. Bustamante is facing one charge of forgery.
Garza said the city has put in checks and balances to keep this from happening again. He said the city will not tolerate this kind of behavior.
"We cannot employ people who do this sort of thing with our tax dollars. We will hold them accountable to the maximum extent feasible. Whatever we can do, we will make sure this does not happen again," Garza said.
Three of the men were still employed by the city. Two of them were arrested while at work on Monday. Garza said they will all be fired.