December 16, 2016

The key parts of the Demesia Padilla search warrant

Andy Lyman

Demesia testifies before the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee in Red River

The Attorney General’s office filed a search warrant for the house of Demesia Padilla. Padilla then resigned from her position as Taxation and Revenue Department Secretary.

Here are some of the key parts of the search warrant that NM Political Report obtained yesterday.

  • Padilla was doing work for Harold’s Grading & Trucking through Feb. 2013. She began running the state Taxation and Revenue Department in 2011. Antoinette Dominguez, the woman who took over afterward said “she observed Demesia, in person, doing the work at the company on occasion.” Padilla’s husband, Jessie Medina Jr., was the tax preparer for 2010, 2011 and 2012 for Harold’s Grading & Trucking. Checks issued to Demesia Padilla before her appointment went to Jessie Medina Jr. afterward.
  • Between her appointment and Feb. 2013, $25,360.70 went to the JP Morgan Chase card owned by Padilla. Padilla said the money was owed from Harold’s Grading & Trucking to her company, Padilla & Garcia, PC.
  • Padilla told the Attorney General’s office “on more than one occasion that she ceased doing work with Harold’s Grading and Trucking in December 2010” when she was appointed as Secretary of TRD.
  • Padilla said she destroyed client files maintained at her company’s office because “the condition of which she found the files made it impossible to recreate the client files as they previously existed.” Padilla said she and Medina “systematically burned the records.”
  • Harold Dominguez, the owner of Harold’s Grading & Trucking, said Medina never worked for his company.
  • Money went directly from Harold’s Grading & Trucking’s bank account to the JP Morgan Chase credit card owned by Padilla.
  • When shown the online bank statements, Harold Dominguez “stated he never conducted online banking, had no knowledge as to how to do so, nor had he ever viewed the bank statements” before shown by the Attorney General’s investigator.
  • Padilla allegedly told Antoinette Dominguez how to avoid an audit. When “she recalled Harold’s Grading & Trucking was behind on filing gross receipt taxes for February through May 2013…she said Demesia instructed her not to file them all at one time because it could ‘spark up an audit.’” Dominguez filed them all at once and there was an audit.
  • “Agents identified approximately $128,763.44, of unexplained income deposited to Demesia Padilla’s account.” This did not include her salary as TRD secretary nor any money paid to Medina.
  • Eighteen checks each for $2,652.98, adding up to $47,753.64, came from QC Holdings, Incorporated. QC Holdings is a “short-term lending institution, catering to individuals needing income to sustain until their next pay check.” In other words, payday loans.
  • Padilla did not disclose her income from Harold’s Grading and Trucking on her state financial disclosure statement, which as a public official she is required to do for all outside income of more than $5,000.
  • When agents asked Padilla about this, her attorney—former Supreme Court Justice Paul Kennedy—“did not allow her to answer the question and terminated the interview.”
  • Padilla “may have attempted” to influence her own department’s tax audit of Harold’s Trucking. According to employee interviews with the AG, Padilla instructed them to “stop the audit process and send the matter directly to protest.” Padilla wanted tax penalties for Harold’s Trucking abated. Her firm destroyed records relevant to Harold’s Trucking’s tax audit. Padilla apparently told one of her employees that she “no longer had the records because she had burned them.”

Update (5 pm): Added bullet point illustrating that Padilla did not disclose payments from Harold’s Trucking on her state financial disclosure statement.