Former court admin convicted of fraud now works for public defender
March 21, 2018 06:36 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The man at the center of a multi-million dollar public swindle is back on the public payroll.
Former court administrator Toby Martinez was at the center of the so-called "Gang of Eight" public corruption scandal that rocked New Mexico more than 10 years ago. Martinez pleaded guilty in 2008 to stealing more than $2 million in state money intended for construction of the Metro Court.
Martinez, who still owes more than $2 million in restitution, now works in the public defender’s office in Albuquerque as a senior paralegal making $20 an hour.
Brian Pori, a federal defender for Martinez, said Martinez served his time in prison and is no longer on supervised probation. Pori insists Martinez is rehabilitated to work in public service.
"Where would it be a better place for an individual?” Pori said. “To show other people charged with and convicted that they can be rehabilitated? That they're more than the worse thing they've ever done"
Martinez spent more than five years in prison. He worked at a warehouse before taking a job at the public defender's office.
"The idea that you violated the law [and] that you just don't get to have any decent job again? That's absurd," Pori said
The "Gang of Eight" includes New Mexican politicians and businessmen who conspired to steal from the court project, such as Sen. Manny Aragon and ex-Albuquerque Mayor Ken Schultz.
New Mexico Chief Public Defender Bennett Bauer insisted that Martinez was the most qualified applicant.
"I would be skeptical too, and we are monitoring him to make sure he's doing the work and that he does not violate the public trust," Bauer said. "In the end, this is a way for him to prove to society that he deserves, that he's been rehabilitated, and he deserves another chance."
KOB-TV requested an interview with Martinez but has not heard back.
Created: March 21, 2018 06:36 PM
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