Doctor Pays $3,638 for Residency Fraud
A California doctor pleaded guilty in Santa Fe Magistrate Court May 20 to 13 counts of making a fraudulent statement to procure a resident hunting license in New Mexico.
In a plea agreement with Department of Game and Fish officers, Raul Labrada Miranda, 55, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., will pay $400 on eight of the 13 charges for a total of $3,200 to Operation Game Thief and $438 in court costs. Miranda also will serve 364 days unsupervised probation. Officers were alerted to Miranda's activities by an Operation Game Thief report.
"He had been applying as a New Mexico resident since 1999," said John Martsh, Albuquerque district wildlife officer who investigated the case. "We went back through all the documentation and checked with adjacent states -- he applied in Arizona as a nonresident using his California address."
Miranda applied for 28 hunts from 1999-2003 and was drawn for four: a 2001 elk hunt, a 2002 javelina hunt, a 2001 deer hunt and a 2000 javelina hunt. He purchased the four licenses as a New Mexico resident.
The Department had assistance from U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents and California Fish and Game officers investigating the case in California. When Miranda was confronted with the charges, he signed a sworn statement and requested a plea agreement with New Mexico.
"He told us he was losing sleep and couldn't think straight and wanted to arrange for the plea agreement," said Martsh.
The Department of Game and Fish will pursue the license revocation process, said Chris Chadwick, Albuquerque district wildlife supervisor. "Each count carries 20 points toward revocation."
Not only does Miranda face revocation in New Mexico, he potentially could lose hunting and fishing rights in the other 17 states that are members of the Wildlife Violators Compact -- including California.
"John (Martsh) worked this case from the beginning," said Chadwick. "It's a time-consuming, often tedious process but he did a good job."
Operation Game Thief is a program that allows citizens to provide confidential information about game law violations to the Department. The toll-free number is 432-GAME (432-4263) and informants receive rewards ranging from $250 - $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of wildlife violators.