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Welfare Worker Pleads Guilty

Joseph Martin Padilla, 36, entered his plea Monday in federal court and faces a maximum prison term of five years

A former employee of the New Mexico Human Services Department will have to repay the federal government $181,000 after pleading guilty to one count of defrauding the federal food stamp program, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Joseph Martin Padilla, 36, entered his plea Monday in federal court and faces a maximum prison term of five years. Padilla was charged with five others in August in a 32-count indictment that alleged they defrauded the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by setting up phony food stamp accounts.

Padilla was a family assistance analyst at HSD who was responsible for determining applicants’ eligibility and benefit levels for SNAP benefits. He admitted to using names and personal identifiers supplied by his co-defendants to establish 25 fraudulent food stamp accounts between September 2009 and May 2010.

Three other co-defendants have pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the case and have been ordered to pay varying amounts of restitution to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the food stamp program. Two others have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

— Dennis Domrzalski

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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Albuquerque’s definitive alternative newspaper publishing an inquisitive, modern approach to the news and entertainment stories that matter most to New Mexicans. ABQ Free Press’ fresh voice speaks to insightful and involved professionals who care deeply about our community.

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