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Former Sandia Labs contractor pleads guilty to fraud

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

A former federal contractor pleaded guilty this week to fraudulently using a Sandia National Laboratories purchase card to buy thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, furniture and other personal items.

Joshua Cordova, 39, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to charges of mail fraud and theft of federal funds for which he could be sentenced up to 20 years in prison. His sentencing date has not been scheduled.

Cordova admitted that he fraudulently used his government-issued purchasing card to buy items such as a $944 diamond lady’s anniversary ring that he had shipped to his home, according to a U.S. District Court plea agreement.

Cordova admitted using false reporting in his monthly accounting to Sandia in an attempt to disguise the purchases as work-related. For example, he described the purchase of the anniversary ring as that of a high-quality camera tripod, the plea agreement said.

Other items Cordova admitted to buying with his Sandia purchase card include watches, clothing, exercise equipment, home appliances, furniture, building materials, a $1,200 set of golf clubs and other goods, the plea said. The purchases were made from 2014 through September 2018.

Cordova worked for two companies under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to provide training for the military, law enforcement and first responders at Sandia, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

He was issued a government-funded purchasing card in 2012 for the purpose of buying equipment and materials needed for his job, it said.

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