FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Albuquerque, NM – This afternoon a jury unanimously found Crystal Lucero guilty of forgery, larceny, embezzlement, two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, and three counts of attempts to evade or defeat tax. Lucero is facing up to 48 years in prison for her crimes against the State of New Mexico and the Congregation Albert Synagogue located in Albuquerque.
From 2016-2019, Crystal Lucero stole over $600,000 in money, checks, and other unauthorized financial instruments belonging to the Congregation Albert synagogue between August 2016 to June 2019. During this period of time she also failed to file tax returns related to her legitimate and illegitimate sources of income. She used her position of trust as the bookkeeper and administrator to commit these crimes.
“Today’s verdict underscores my office’s commitment to pursue justice against sophisticated white-collar criminals who, in this case, stole hundreds of thousands of dollar from hundreds of New Mexicans,” said Attorney General Raúl Torrez. “Those that engage in predatory financial schemes against New Mexico’s historic communities of faith and other non-profit organizations will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The jury heard evidence that included the Defendant’s Amazon purchases of Mein Kampf, adult coloring books, and other personal items using embezzled funds from the Congregation’s operating account and credit cards. She testified at trial and claimed that she reimbursed the Congregation for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that she had checked and cashed at her personal bank and for her personal Amazon purchases using the Congregation’s credit card. A tax auditor and forensic accountant testified concerning their analysis of the financial records generated by the Defendant’s three years of criminal activity.
This case was investigated by the Special Investigations Division of the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General and the New Mexico Tax and Revenue Department. Assistant Attorney General Andrew Coffing and Deputy Attorney General Mark Probasco prosecuted the case at trial.