Portales couple indicted on cattle fraud charges, owners and buyers shorted millions

Portales couple indicted on cattle fraud charges, owners and buyers shorted millions

PORTALES, N.M. - Portales couple, 50-year-old Calvin Pareo and 41-year-old Darcie Pareo face a 139-count indictment, including charges of forgery, fraud, conspiracy, and racketeering.

Ninth Judicial District Attorney, Andrea Reeb says this is one of the biggest cases she's ever worked on. Her office has been working on this case for almost a year.

"This case is way bigger than probably our office," said Reeb. "We got together with state police, the livestock board, and the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Department. Then we did a big search on January 21st of this year."

The investigation alleges a fraudulent scheme by Mr. and Mrs. Pareo, the managers of a New Mexico livestock auction. Calvin Pareo would purchase cattle at the auction for certain prices, and then Darcie Pareo would change the prices after the auction. According to Reeb, investigators estimate 13,000 sales tickets were altered -- depriving dairy owners and buyers of more than $2 million.

"I've never seen something to this magnitude as far as the amount of money that was going through this business," said Reeb. "When he's putting a price on a ticket and then she's altering it later, their making money on it and then they're filtering this money through another farm and that's how their hiding the money."

NewsChannel 10 reached out to the Pareos but they were unavailable by phone. We also went to their address listed in the white pages, but the address was not accurate.

The couple's attorney, Peter Domenici Jr., said in a statement "the Pareos are innocent of any wrongdoing and they are looking forward to pursuing their rights through the court system."

According to Reeb, the couple is supposed to turn themselves into the Roosevelt County Jail this week. They each will bond out on a $50,000 appearance bond and the an arraignment will happen within the next 10 days.

Reeb doesn't expect this case to go to trial for another year.