Ex-cop admits paperwork mistakes

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By David Giuliani

A former Las Vegas police officer says he made administrative mistakes that got him in trouble with the law.

Earlier this month, Shawn Montoya pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and filing a false claim, both fourth-degree felonies. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed 27 other counts against the former officer, and if he abides by the agreement, the court won’t punish him, in what is known as a conditional discharge. He will be on probation for 18 months.

“I wanted it over. I wanted to move on with my life,” Montoya said in a  phone interview.

One of the allegations by prosecutors was that Montoya filled up his personal car using his city credit card. That was discovered because he had charged more gallons of gas in several instances than could fit in his squad car’s tank.

Montoya confirmed that he filled up his own sport utility vehicle but that he did so when he took it to represent the Police Department at the Legislature. In Santa Fe, he pushed for lawmakers to provide money for equipment and security officers at local schools — efforts that he said yielded some results.

Montoya said there was a lack of documentation to show that he had gone to Santa Fe for the Legislature, acknowledging that he didn’t follow proper procedure.

“It was my fault. I was held accountable for it. That was what I pleaded to,” he said.

He also allegedly double-dipped by logging hours at the Police Department at the same time he was supposedly working for Wal-Mart as a security guard. Again, Montoya said that he was to blame for not filling out his timesheets correctly.

He said the times that he was reportedly at both places were on days when he was coming back from Santa Fe and he immediately had to report to his job at Wal-Mart.

“I was doing too much work at one time. I got over my head, doing work for the Police Department and Wal-Mart,” he said.

Montoya was also accused of filing false insurance claims under a worker’s compensation case that arose when he was hurt in an on-the-job car accident — for which he received a warning citation from the state police. He submitted payment of $1,242 to the city and $10,593 to the insurance company.

Under the plea agreement, Montoya is required to pay full restitution to the Police Department and the insurance company. He is also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

Again, he admitted to his mistakes in preparing documents for the worker’s compensation claims.

“It was my fault that I didn’t complete the documentation correctly,” he said.

Montoya, who resigned with the city March 2008, worked for the village of Springer for a time. Now he said he’s retired after working for 20 years for the government, which included his time as a state detention facility employee.

“We do make mistakes. I always gave the people my best. If they ever needed me, I was there,” he said.

District Attorney Richard Flores said in an e-mail Wednesday that it sounded as if Montoya was trying to justify his actions.

“If he feels that his actions were justified and legal, he shouldn’t have pleaded guilty, which is what he did. Even if they were mistakes, it was action done in a ‘knowingly’ fashion,” Flores said.