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Updated at 7:50am — No Jail Time for Ex-Los Lunas Chief

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Veteran lawman sentenced to 18 months probation, restitution for misusing public money.

Five months after retiring from a 36-year career with the Los Lunas Police Department, former Chief Nick Balido avoided jail time when he was sentenced last week for receiving nearly $5,500 in taxpayer money for work he didn’t do, the Valencia County News-Bulletin reported over the weekend.

Balido, 63, had pleaded no contest in March to two counts of permitting false public vouchers and two counts of paying or receiving public money for services not rendered, the News-Bulletin said.

Before retiring in December after 20 years as the village’s chief of police, Balido allegedly put in for overtime for working DWI checkpoints that he didn’t actually work and was paid $5,456 out of a DWI grant, according to the News-Bulletin.

State District Judge George Eichwald on Thursday ordered Balido to serve 18 months on probation and perform 100 hours of community service, and that until the service was performed Balido would be on supervised probation, the paper reported.

Before sentence was pronounced, Balido handed prosecutors a $5,456 check in restitution to the village of Los Lunas, the News-Bulletin said.

“I’m not sure if this had anything to do with why you did what you did, but I’m going to order that you not be allowed to enter any gambling establishment until your probation is over,” Eichwald told Balido.

If Balido successfully completes his probation, the charges will be dismissed and Balido will have a clean criminal record, the News-Bulletin said.


1:20pm 3/19/09 — Ex-Los Lunas Chief Pleads No Contest: Former lawman must pay $5,456 to village in restitution; could face up to 6 years in prison.

Former Los Lunas Police Chief Nick Balido last week pleaded no contest to four felony counts — two counts of making or permitting false public vouchers and two of paying or receiving public money for services not rendered, the Valencia County News-Bulletin reported.

Balido, who retired in December after 20 years as police chief and 36 years with the Los Lunas Police Department, entered into a plea agreement with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office that calls for payment of $5,456 in restitution to the Village of Los Lunas and a possible sentence of up to six years in prison, the News-Bulletin said.

There was no other agreement as to sentencing, and once a pre-sentence report is completed, state District Judge George Eichwald could impose a prison sentence or suspend the sentence and order probation, the paper reported.

No details were made available of the alleged crimes, except to say they were committed between March 2005 and October 2008, according to the News-Bulletin.


8:30am 2/26/09 — Ex-Los Lunas Chief Charged With Felonies: Nick Balido accused of making false public vouchers, getting paid for services not rendered.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against former Los Lunas Police Chief Nick Balido, who retired in December after 36 years with the police department, the Valencia County News-Bulletin reported.

Balido, 63, was charged in a criminal information in Sandoval County District Court with two counts of making or permitting false public vouchers and two counts of paying or receiving public money for services not rendered, the News-Bulletin said.

Balido, who hadn’t entered a plea in the case, was unavailable for comment, the News-Bulletin reported on Wednesday.

According to the criminal information, the Attorney General’s Office claimed that Balido allegedly committed the crimes between March 2005 and October 2008, but didn’t spell out the details, the paper reported.

Lynn Southard, communications director for the Attorney General’s Office, said her office couldn’t comment on a pending case, the News-Bulletin said.

Los Lunas Village Administrator Phillip Jaramillo told the News-Bulletin he was aware of the Attorney General’s Office investigation but said he wasn’t exactly sure of the allegations.

Balido had served as Los Lunas police chief for 20 years and had been hired as a patrolman in 1973, the paper reported.

Roy E. Melnick of St. John’s, Ariz., was unanimously chosen by the village council last week, to succeed Balido as chief of police and is tentatively scheduled to begin that job on March 16, the News-Bulletin said.

 

 

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