Marion Ledford, 68 of Alamogordo, was sentenced to 24 years in prison without probation after being found guilty of embezzling $1.8 million from the Robert W. Hamilton Foundation.
The sentence was to be served alongside Ledford’s 18-month federal sentence for tax evasion.
On March 24, Ledford did not contest one count of embezzlement and three counts of tax evasion.
Once Ledford’s federal sentence is complete, he will be extradited to New Mexico to serve the remainder of the 24-year embezzlement sentence — the maximum sentence allowed by law.
Along with his prison sentences, Ledford was also ordered to pay $1,785,300 in restitution to the Robert W. Hamilton Foundation in the embezzlement case and $629,289 in restitution to the IRS in the tax evasion.
Continued:Ledford sentenced to 18 months in prison for tax evasion
Ledford served as chief financial officer and certified public accountant for the Robert W. Hamilton Foundation during the commission of his crimes.
The Robert W. Hamilton Foundation awards scholarships to Otero County high school graduates.
Between 2011 and 2016, the court found that while Ledford worked for the Robert W. Hamilton Foundation, he misappropriated $1,808,100 that was disbursed through checks made out to him.
“Ledford admitted to controlling the finances of the foundation without any oversight and was able to continue this pattern for at least five years, from 2011 to 2016,” said a press release from the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Ledford pleaded guilty to a tax evasion charge in federal court in November 2019. The tax evasion charge stemmed from the embezzlement case.
Ledford will begin his time in federal prison on April 16 at a low-security federal correctional facility in Big Spring, Colorado.
From 2021:Ledford charged with embezzlement and tax evasion
After the November 2019 plea, the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office pursued state-level embezzlement and tax evasion charges, the news release said.
The investigation that led to state-level charges was led by the New Mexico State Police Department, the Tax Fraud Investigations Division of the New Mexico Department of Taxes and Revenue. Mexico and investigators from the 12th Judicial District Prosecutor’s Office.
The Tax Fraud Investigations Division investigated unauthorized withdrawals from Robert W. Hamilton Foundation financial accounts between 2010 and 2016.
He also reviewed Ledford’s 2014-2016 annual tax returns.
“The investigation revealed that Ledford made 69 unauthorized withdrawals from RHF’s bank accounts and financial institutions, and made deposits into bank accounts belonging to him,” the press release said. “In turn, Ledford has not reported additional income from embezzlement activity for each of the corresponding tax years 2014, 2015 and 2016.”
During those three years, Ledford failed to claim the funds he misappropriated on his state tax returns, resulting in a $40,993 tax bill.
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