Crime Report: Undersheriff: Guilty; Surveyor Fraud
The following two reports were released by John Bryan, the Public Information Officer for District Attorney Bruce Brown representing Colorado’s Fifth Judicial District. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell phone at 478-954-1909.
Undersheriff Mendoza: Guilty of Sex Offense
Former Lake County Undersheriff, Fernando Mendoza, was found guilty by a jury today on two counts: Attempt to Commit First Degree Aggravated Incest (F4), and Attempt to Commit Invasion of Privacy for Sexual Gratification (M2). The jury acquitted Mendoza of the other two charges against him: Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Child (F4); and, Embezzlement of Public Property (F5). Defendant Mendoza was taken into custody after the verdicts were entered, and bond was raised to $250,000.
“These despicable acts were perpetrated upon a family member and further trampled on community trust given the defendant’s position as a high-ranking, local law enforcement officer at the time of the crimes,” said Bruce Brown, 5th Judicial District Attorney. “I can only hope the victim and those lives he has harmed can heal after today’s verdict.”
Mendoza’s sentencing is scheduled to occur on Feb. 21, 2019, at 2 p.m. in Lake County. He faces a lengthy term in the Department of Corrections and mandatory sex offender treatment.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney’s Office collaborated on the case investigation.
Man Arrested as Land Surveyor Impostor, Fraud
Alex Hagan, 30, was arrested Nov. 29, 2018, on charges of Offering False Instrument/Recording (F5); Forgery (F5); Forgery Device (F6); Criminal Impersonation (F6); Theft of $750-$2,000 (M1); and, Surveyor-Unauthorized Practice (M2). The arrest warrant states that Defendant Hagan although not a licensed land surveyor was operating a bandit land survey business in Lake County. In order to complete this scheme, Hagan was using an official seal, surveyor license number, and fraudulently completing documents such as “Improvement Location Certificates” with another, legitimate surveyor’s identity. That licensed surveyor had not done any work in the State since 2014, but Hagan was now using his name to do the illegal surveys.
Hagan operated a website to entice unsuspecting customers to use his services. Land surveying is a regulated profession because of the expertise required to determine and preserve lawful land boundaries. Land surveyors are specially trained and tested in principles of mathematics and measurement methods.
“Real estate transactions of which many occur daily in our District depend upon competent and licensed professionals to confirm the integrity of the parcel changing hands. While many of us see this time of year as a season of giving, we also know that for the unscrupulous, it can be a season of taking,” said Bruce Brown, 5th Judicial District Attorney. “It’s important for parties to real estate contracts to research all vendors before hiring them,” he added.
Consumers are advised to check out the CO Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and their ‘Take 5 to Get Wise’ program, where you can send in a complaint regarding businesses, research a contractor’s license credentials, etc. Also, check out the JD5’s “Tips For Consumers.”
Anyone who does surveyor work without the required license is not entitled to collect a fee.
If convicted of these charges, Defendant Hagan faces a maximum sentence of three years in the Department of Corrections. The 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office will continue their investigation into this case, and other consumer fraud cases around the District.