Acevedo arraigned on 79 charges

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A local woman was arraigned Sept. 20 in 7th Judicial District Court on 79 charges of stealing checks from New Mexico Tech, and she pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Tiffany Acevedo, 30, is charged with one count of embezzlement over $2,500, a third-degree felony, and 78 counts of forgery, fourth-degree felonies, according to online court records.

A criminal complaint filed in the case states the offenses were committed from about Aug. 5, 2012, through April 16, 2013. The embezzlement charge stems from 51 checks issued to the Tech Science Olympiad with which Acevedo had been entrusted, but she allegedly converted them to her own use. The forgery charges allege Acevedo falsely altered a number of checks made out to Tech from various sources.

During arraignment, Acevedo testified she is not currently working and has no checking account. When questioned by the judge as to how she has been spending her time, she replied she has been applying for jobs and taking care of her children.

Lee Deschamps, Acevedo's attorney, asked if the court could do a reading of the charges. District Judge Edmund Kase III said with all of the information, it would take him at least 15 minutes — possibly half an hour — to read all of the charges.

"Do you know how many charges there are?" Kase asked the defendant. "Take a guess."

Acevedo ventured 50, but the judge responded there are 79.

Kase then asked where Acevedo was living, to which she replied she had just moved to Lemitar during the past week. Her bondsman did not know because she "just barely moved." The judge asked if the bondsman had put up the cash bond as stipulated in the conditions of release, and Acevedo affirmed that was so.

When asked for address information, Acevedo said she was not able to give her exact new address in Lemitar but had the information on paperwork in her car.

Robert Cates, assistant 7th Judicial District Attorney, said although Acevedo had shown up for court, she has not been completely compliant with her conditions of release.

Kase reminded Acevedo to comply with conditions of release: notify the court of any change of address, and maintain contact with her attorney.

The court set a pretrial conference for November. A jury trial in the case is scheduled for February 2014, according to online court records.

Deschamps told the court the defendant was pleading not guilty to all 79 charges.

"I suggest you go out and try to get a job today," Kase recommended to Acevedo.