Alamogordo city employee charged after waiving families’ water bills

ALAMOGORDO N.M. (KRQE) – A city water employee caught giving family and friends thousands of dollars worth of breaks on their water bills is now facing the consequences.

He’s been charged.

Armando Ortega was fired from his job as service manager for the water utility department last summer after the state auditor found he let friends and family run up their unpaid water bills.

City officials told KRQE News 13 when this all happened back in 2014 that any time a person fails to pay their utility bill they’re automatically put onto a list to have their service disconnected.

They say Ortega, who was in charge of that list, didn’t put his family or friends on it, so the city never knew they were getting their water for free.

Now, two years later the District Attorney’s office has charged Ortega with 11 counts of tampering with public records and one count of embezzlement.

The city attorney told KRQE News 13 that the actual amount of money the city lost is still in dispute but it’s believed to be in the neighborhood of $10,000.

KRQE News 13 also asked how the city plans to get that money back.

“Again, the amount whether the city lost any money at all is an issue of dispute between us and Mr. Ortega,” said Stephen Theis, Alamogordo City Attorney.

All of Ortega’s tampering with public records charges are fourth degree felonies.

The embezzlement charge was for crediting $210 toward his own water bill.

In that report by the state auditor investigators also found Ortega likely accepted free Dallas Cowboys tickets from a city contractor that contractor did business with the city’s water department..

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