Santa Fe swindler resentenced to weekends in custody for one year

Matthew Sample

A Santa Fe man convicted of defrauding more than $1 million from investors will spend his weekends in custody.

U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera on Tuesday resentenced Matthew Sample, 44, to five years of probation and “intermittent confinement” on the weekends for one year.

He will be required to pay back the $1,086,453.62 he bilked from investors to pay for his lavish lifestyle, including a party pad with real gold woven into the wallpaper. In 2017, Sample pleaded guilty to one count of “fraud and swindles” and one count of wire fraud.

At the time, federal prosecutors asked Herrera to sentence Sample to five years behind bars. The judge instead handed down a five-year probation sentence, siding with Sample’s attorney, Ray Twohig, who argued Sample would never be able to pay back his victims if he were in lockup.

Prosecutors appealed the sentence, and in August 2018, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Carlos Lucero sent the case back to District Court for resentencing. Lucero said it was clear Sample had received probation because he earned a lot of money — which would allow him to make restitution payments.

“He misappropriated more than a million dollars,” Lucero wrote. “That seriousness alone weighs against the lenient nature of the sentence the trial court imposed.”

According to court documents filed by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred J. Federici, Sample has continued to lead a lavish and dishonest lifestyle. Documents said he continued taking trips to Hawaii and Alaska, failed to keep up with restitution payments and didn’t tell the court he was fired from his job.

Sample’s attorney disputed the government’s claims and asked the court to put Sample back on probation with intermittent confinement.

Elizabeth Martinez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico, said it is unclear which correctional facility will hold Sample from Friday evenings to Sunday evenings.

“We don’t have any information on how the intermittent prison term will be served,” she said.

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