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A Truth or Consequences couple were sentenced to prison Friday for using their government positions to illegally siphon $284,000 from the estate of a deceased man in 2017.
Pamela Smith, a former Sierra County probate judge, was sentenced to 4½ years in prison, and her husband, Randy Smith, to 2½ years, Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office said in a written statement.
In her role as a deputy field investigator with the state Office of the Medical Investigator, Pamela Smith was assigned in 2017 to look into the death of 82-year-old Dominic Domingo, according to court records.
Then, in her role as a probate judge, she appointed her husband as a special administrator to Domingo’s estate.
Randy Smith later moved $284,000 from Domingo’s accounts into their own accounts for their personal use, according to court records.
Presiding Judge Jim Foy of the 7th Judicial District Court called Pamela Smith’s crimes “judicial corruption at its worst” on Friday when he handed down her sentence, the Attorney General’s Office said in its statement.
The Smiths will be required to pay $284,000 in restitution to Domingo’s estate, the statement said.
Pamela Smith illegally altered probate court records, giving her husband access to Domingo’s bank accounts, according to criminal complaints filed by the AG’s Office.
The couple used the money to pay their mortgage and other debts, and to pay for improvements to Randy Smith’s boat repair and consignment business, the complaint said.
Pamela Smith pleaded guilty in March to seven felony charges, including two counts of fraud, three counts of tampering with public records and other charges, court records show.
Randy Smith pleaded guilty in March to two counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.