4 Investigates: Imposter tricks Bernalillo Co. DA's office, inmate released
February 21, 2019 02:35 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- An investigation is underway after an imposter scammed the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office, which allowed the release of a violent criminal from jail.
Freddie Trujillo pled guilty in a 2017 aggravated assault case. He was on probation but in December 2018, Trujillo was thrown back in jail for violating that probation.
Police said Trujillo attacked his estranged relatives, David and Mary Ann Baca. The couple’s account of what happened was recorded on police-worn body cameras.
“He grabbed her by the arm and threw her and said ‘now you [expletive] have to deal with me’ and I said ‘don’t put your hands on my wife – what’s wrong with you?’ So then he grabbed me,” David Baca told officers.
Trujillo was caught and locked back up. However, one month later – Trujillo was released from jail after the District Attorney dropped the charges.
“How could this happen,” David Baca wonders. “Nobody wanted to give me a direct firm answer.”
It turns out, the DA’s office dropped the charges against Trujillo because a woman who claimed to be a victim walked into the courthouse and demanded the charges dropped. The only problem is: that woman was an imposter. Even so, the DA’s office fell for it.
The Bacas continue to question how this could have happened in the first place. How did nobody check to see if the woman claiming to be the victim really was a victim?
“How dare you release someone – I go… don’t you have anything in stipulation that says look we’re going to have to check your ID to make sure you’re the victim or you’re the assailant,” David Baca said. “And he said ‘we have nothing in stipulation.’”
The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office confirms that there is no policy that requires a person to show their ID when dealing with these types of case.
4 Investigates repeatedly asked to speak with District Attorney Raul Torrez on the issue. While he appears on the news speaking about a variety of cases, the DA did not want to speak about this one.
Michael Patrick – who is a spokesperson for the DA -- sent 4 Investigates the following statement instead:
“Unfortunately, the criminal justice system currently lacks both the staff and the infrastructure to enforce a strict policy requiring every participant in the process to prove their identity. Moreover, the rigid application of that type of policy can create unnecessary barriers for many traumatized victims who must trust and communicate with our prosecutors on a regular basis. While this type of fraud is extraordinarily rare we have a responsibility to safeguard the integrity of the system and we will pursue any legal action necessary to deter this type of misconduct in the future."
Charges have since been refiled against Trujillo but she remains on the streets pending another court hearing scheduled for next month.
However, the Bacas aren’t satisfied with the DA’s explanation.
“If you write a check, you have to show your ID, if you use a credit card, you show your ID – why not in the court system,” Mary Ann Baca asksed. “Prove who you are in the court – don’t just take someone’s word for it. Prove who you are … and they didn’t.”
As for the alleged imposter, the DA’s office confirms it is investigating the matter. However, the DA has not released details about a possible suspect and whether that imposter will face charges.
Updated: February 21, 2019 02:35 PM
Created: February 20, 2019 07:49 PM
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