ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A former agent with the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department has pleaded guilty to extortion charges.

Federal prosecutors announced Larry Mendoza’s plea on Friday. He could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $250,000. Sentencing has yet to be scheduled.

He was accused earlier this year of abusing his position to extort $2,500 from a business owner in return for reducing the owner’s tax liability.

Mendoza also admitted that he engaged in a similar pattern with other business owners and that his criminal conduct was responsible for tax revenue losses in excess of $40,000.

Mendoza worked for the tax department for a decade. He was placed on leave in May and eventually fired.

He told authorities he used the money for personal benefit.

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