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John Lerma Sentenced Under Plea Agreement

on September 25, 2017 - 7:12am
Los Alamos Daily Post

John Joseph Lerma, 42, of Albuquerque will serve only four years of incarceration followed by five years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to three charges Sept.18 under the terms of a plea agreement in the First Judicial Court in Santa Fe.

Lerma was arrested in August 2016 along with Rosalinda Hurtado and the two were originally charged with a total of 54 counts in 17 cases in Los Alamos County. Hurtado was sentenced to five years of probation in June on 13 felony counts. The cases involved multiple crimes including check fraud, identity theft, forgery, fraud, and fraudulent use of credit cards, against Los Alamos residents of all ages from high school students to the elderly.

Lerma was bound over to District Court by Magistrate Judge Pat Casados in November 2016 on 11 counts: Three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud over $2,500, conspiracy to commit fraud over $500, three counts of theft of identity, receiving stolen property over $500, theft of a credit card, conspiracy to commit theft of a credit card and attempt to commit fraud over $2,500.

Under the terms of the global plea agreement Lerma pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud over $2,500, theft of identification and theft of a credit card in Los Alamos County and fraud over $500 in Rio Arriba County. He agreed to admit prior convictions for two counts of aggravated burglary and possession of a controlled substance in 2009 and aggravated assault and fraudulently signing a sales slip in 2010, for the purposes of habitual offender purposes.

Chief Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer imposed a sentence of 18 months plus four years of incarceration for a total of 5 and a half years with 19 months suspended for a total of four years of actual incarceration followed by 18 months of supervised probation for each of the four charges. The four basic sentences of 18 months run consecutively to each other for a total basic sentence of six years of incarceration all of which Judge Marlowe Sommer suspended.

The four years of mandatory incarceration as a habitual offender imposed on three of the charges will run concurrently to each other for a period of actual incarceration of only four years which means the total 10 years of incarceration was reduced to four years followed by five years of supervised probation.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, 10 additional charges in Los Alamos County, three in Rio Arriba County and 12 in Santa Fe County were dismissed.  Lerma was also ordered to pay restitution of $15,000 in 10 cases.

Deputy District Attorney Kent Wahlquist was the prosecutor in Lerma’s cases and his defense attorney was Michael R. Jones.