Trial date set in Vallejos case
The jury trail date for former county manager and title company owner Joseph A. Vallejos has been postponed until April 30 in 7th Judicial District Court in Socorro.
Vallejos, who pleaded not guilty to 30 felony counts of fraud and embezzlement, was to stand trial Jan. 9, but District Court Judge Kevin R. Sweazea granted a postponement last month. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 9 a.m.
Vallejos was arrested Nov. 18, 2010, following an investigation by the Socorro Police Department and the Public Regulation Commission’s insurance fraud investigators. He was initially charged on two counts, but 28 additional charges were later added.
In late October of that year, the PRC’s Division of Insurance issued a consumer alert that warned residents of Socorro and Catron counties of possible fraudulent title polices being issued by JM Abstract. According to a press release, potential violations included misrepresentation, accepting premium without providing a policy, operating without a valid license and violations of the Fair Trade Practices Act.
Socorro police had already been investigating Vallejos’ business practices for several months. Det. Richard Lopez said Socorro Police and the PRC’s Fraud Bureau received well more than 200 complaints against Vallejos and JM Abstract.
The complaint against Vallejos, who was owner and president of J&M Abstract and Title Co. of Socorro, lists five counts of embezzlement and 25 counts of felony fraud — four in the second degree (more than $20,000), five in the third degree (more than $2,500) and 21 in the fourth degree (more than $500 but less than $2,500). In all, the allegations contend that Vallejos mishandled or misappropriated more than $316,500.