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

  • December 11 The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General criticized a migrant youth detention center on the border for not running the proper background checks. Federal law requires the facility to screen all employees with FBI fingerprint checks.
  • December 06 In a bid to combat money laundering and illicit funding sources for terrorists flowing through the country's real estate sector, Singapore's government now mandates background checks for buyers purchasing properties prior to development.
  • December 04 What is a reference check? How does it vary from a work history check? We explore these questions and others.
  • December 04 Chicago Public Schools has dismissed hundreds of employees, coaches, vendors, and volunteers based on background check findings. The district recently vowed to re-check the majority of its 68,000 employees after a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed holes in its background check policies.
  • November 29 Striving to create a safer environment more conducive to productive training and leadership development, the Army has recently moved to adopt a uniform policy of background checks for certain roles. 
  • November 27 For hiring managers to verify the information provided on a resume, verification is essential.  Such is the purpose of employment history background checks.
  • November 27 California’s biggest public school district is waiving the cost of volunteer background checks. The move is meant to encourage more family - and community members to get involved with the school district.
  • November 22 Contractors play an important role in the workforce, delivering services to both individuals and organizations. Vetting contractors for suitability continues to be a challenge, as two recent articles prove.
  • November 21 When it comes to background and pre-employment checks, it can be instructive to look at the characteristics of the ten most massive U.S. employers.
  • November 21

    Verification checks are a powerful way to assess how truthful a job candidate has been on his or her application or resume. These checks can verify work history, education verification, professional licenses, and favorable personal qualities.