The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Accused embezzler charged with similar crime in past

County fired Ray Cordova in 2013, then charges dropped


July 27, 2018

CLOVIS — This month, brothers Ray and Albert Cordova were each arrested and charged with petty misdemeanors for allegedly embezzling fuel from the governmental entity that employed one of them at the time. Something similar happened between the two over five years ago, but with their roles reversed.

City Manager Justin Howalt said this week that Albert Cordova, 54, and a nephew were no longer employed with the city following accusations that they assisted Ray Cordova, 58, in taking up to $250 in clear diesel June 22 from a tank at Clovis’ landfill. The three were all charged with petty misdemeanors and are out of jail on personal recognizance pending upcoming court hearings.

For Curry County Manager Lance Pyle, word of those charges was all too familiar. In February 2013, he terminated Ray Cordova from his employment at the time with the county’s road department , following charges leveled against both of the Cordova siblings for allegedly using a county credit card to purchase about $80 worth of gas on Jan. 9 of that year.

Albert Cordova was never employed with the county, officials confirmed Thursday.

“It is beyond my comprehension that with your experience with Curry County and knowledge of the rules and regulations, why you would steal from the people that pay your salary and disobey clear County directives,” Pyle wrote in Ray Cordova’s termination letter, obtained Thursday by The News through an Inspection of Public Records Act request.

The 2013 charges against each were ultimately dropped by the state after a year-long pre-prosecution program, according to court records. That will not be an option this time around, District Attorney Andrea Reeb said Thursday, and prosecutors’ approach to the cases “will definitely be stiffer and stronger.”

Howalt said Thursday that Albert Cordova began employment April 28, 2014, with the city of Clovis and that the city “does not obtain background checks on all of our Public Works applicants.”

The Cordovas could not be reached for comment.

Portales defense attorney Francis Rio, representing the elder Cordova, declined comment Thursday on the case.

Attempts Thursday to reach the public defender representing Albert Cordova were unsuccessful.

Both are scheduled for court hearings in the coming weeks.


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