- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 17, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico judge has rejected a plea deal for a former college financial director who acknowledged misappropriating thousands of dollars from the school, officials said.

Henrietta Trujillo, 63, was charged in July with embezzling over $20,000, more than two years after she told state police she took $82,000 in cash and another $167,000 in checks from Northern New Mexico College.

“I saw an inequity in the type of resolution that was being requested,” District Judge Jason Lidyard told The Santa Fe New Mexican .

The agreement called for Trujillo to plead guilty to the felony charge and pay back $82,000 she admitted embezzling from the school, plus about $4,300 in taxes on the money, in exchange for receiving a suspended nine-year sentence, officials said. The suspended sentence meant Trujillo initially would not do any jail time, but could be sent to prison if she violated her probation in the case.

Trujillo attorney David Serna said he worked diligently with the state for two years to arrive at the plea agreement that fit the facts and evidence in the case.

“Perhaps if some shoplifters had the opportunity to do that much negotiation and research, they would be able to get suspended sentences, too,” he said.

State authorities began investigating in early 2017 after the state Auditor’s Office confirmed that $200,000 was missing, officials said. The case was forwarded to the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office in October 2017.

There was a desire to negotiate a plea deal before filing charges, the District Attorney’s Office said in May.

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