Two City Workers Arrested Within Two Weeks Found With Prior Criminal Records

By Michael Klazema on 8/28/2012

The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico has had two city employees arrested in separate incidences within two weeks of each other. In both cases, the men have previous criminal backgrounds. A New Mexico state law aimed at helping to bring ex-offenders back to the work force would not have prevented them from obtaining city jobs either. Although the city implemented background checks for its employees in 2009, the state’s Criminal Offenders Employment Act, dating back to 1974, would still allow those with a criminal past onto the city’s payroll.

According to Rob Perry, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer, he is concerned that the state law “provides more protections to a criminal than it does to a public citizen.” Recently, Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department employee Ruben Ambriz was arrested for allegedly stealing parts from the department and selling them. A background check conducted by Albuquerque’s KRQE News 13 revealed that Ambriz has a criminal history going back at least ten years, with offenses including drug use and transferring a stolen car. Albuquerque Housing Authority employee Patrick Vargas was also recently arrested by police. Vargas was suspected of selling drugs out of his office and threatening to have a woman killed who informed police of his activities. Although no drugs were found, Vargas was charged with retaliation against a witness and bribery. Court records uncovered show Vargas had convictions in 1994 for aggravated burglary and battery before becoming employed with the city.

Perry said that while most city employees are good and trustworthy workers, he is against the state law allowing ex-offenders to be employed working for the public, since “citizens have to worry” that criminals would possibly have “access to their property of their home.” Albuquerque employs over 6,000 people on its city payroll, making it one of the biggest employers in the state of New Mexico. City officials say they are unaware how many of their employees might have criminal backgrounds. However, the Criminal Offenders Employment Act does not apply to every city worker, such as police officers, and some crimes do prevent prospective employees from obtaining certain jobs.

As discussed in the recent article Some Small Businesses Struggle with New Background Check Guidelines, legislation surrounding background checks can have a profound impact on businesses and city governments alike. Although the rules are constantly changing, one general guideline is that crimes related to the job at hand are an allowable exclusion. For that reason alone, it is worth it to always perform a background check. By using a reliable company such as, you can be assured you are getting the best and most thorough background check screening techniques available.With access to countless criminal databases nationwide they have many options available, several with instant results. Their US OneSEARCH gives you instant information from more than 430 million criminal records from counties, Department of Corrections (DOC), Administration of Courts (AOC) and State Sex Offender Registries covering 49 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. Also included are national and international terrorism sources, more than 11 million photos, and their proprietary database of previously completed reports. Or try their Ongoing Criminal Monitoring tool, which allows you to automatically run a continuous background check against a name and date of birth. You will be notified via email of any new information that may appear on their record. They will run the name for one year and remind you when it is time to renew the monitoring, plus you can remove the name from being monitored at any time.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and cofounder of the Expungement Clearinghouse - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit



Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants. 
  • March 01 In an age of "industry disruptors" turning established business models on their heads, companies such as Uber and Lyft rely on a unique workforce of individuals outside the traditional employer-employee context. Uber calls them "partners" while other businesses refer to them as "independent contractors," the official classification these individuals use for tax purposes. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revealed they had warned a business, Postmates, for misclassifying their staff as independent contractors. In the NLRB's determination, these individuals were employees.
  • February 27 Governor Asa Hutchinson signed House Bill 2216 which amends the employer’s directives regarding a current or prospective employee’s social media account.
  • February 23 A Texas summer camp is in the spotlight after an unflattering investigation from a local news channel. The case has some parents asking what they can do to vet summer camp programs before enrolling their kids.