Three women whose lawsuit resulted in New Mexico collecting $18.5 million in unpaid taxes from the state's largest health insurance provider have lost their battle for a share of other recovered funds tied to the case.

Monica Galloway, Shawna Maestas and Jolene Gonzales, former employees of the New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance, filed a whistleblower complaint in 2016, accusing Presbyterian Health Plan of avoiding tax liability through fraudulent practices.

Attorney General Hector Balderas' office then brought a case against Presbyterian and later reached a settlement in which the insurer agreed to pay $18.5 million but admitted no wrongdoing. The nonprofit was accused of improperly claiming tax credits in 2003 and 2004.

The three women were part of that settlement and collected 20 percent of the money, about $3.7 million.

The state Office of Superintendent of Insurance subsequently recovered an additional $15.5 million from the nonprofit through an administrative proceeding. The women's attorney argued in a recent bench trial they were entitled to 20 percent of that money as well.

But state District Judge Francis J. Mathew issued a written ruling March 21 saying the additional money the government collected wasn't related to any wrongdoing the women had brought to light, and they were not entitled to a share of it.

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