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New Mexico’s Secretary Of State Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement

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New Mexico’s Secretary Of State Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement

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By Joseph Kolb

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Reuters) — New Mexico’s Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran pleaded guilty on Friday to charges of embezzlement and campaign finance violations, court documents showed, a day after she resigned from office.

Under the terms of a plea deal with prosecutors, Duran also admitted in Santa Fe District Court to charges of money laundering, according to her plea agreement.

Duran’s attorney, Erlinda Johnson of Albuquerque, said Duran resigned late on Thursday but she gave no other details.

Duran is due to be sentenced on Dec. 14, the office of New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement.

Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of five years of supervised probation, according to the plea agreement.

In August, Balderas’ office filed a 64-count criminal case that also included charges of fraud, conspiracy, tampering with public records and government misconduct. The complaint pointed to the discrepancy between Duran’s income and the amount of money she had spent at casinos.

Under the plea agreement, the counts to which Duran did not plead guilty were dismissed.

The complaint said Duran had used campaign contributions for personal expenses, and said the investigation began from a tip that she had deposited large amounts of money into her personal bank account that did not match her known income.

Funds were transferred between her personal and campaign-affiliated accounts. “This behavior often culminates in large debits for cash expenditures occurring at casinos throughout the state of New Mexico,” according to the complaint.

More than $430,000 was withdrawn from Duran’s bank accounts for cash expenses incurred at eight casinos between 2013 and 2014, roughly as much as she reported on her joint tax returns from 2010 to 2013 combined, according to the complaint.

“I am hopeful that this resolution will begin to rebuild the public trust and compel the new leadership to improve oversight and compliance in our campaign finance system and electoral process,” Balderas said in a statement.

New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Debbie Maestas said in a statement the party respected Duran’s decision to step down “and help restore credibility to the Secretary of State’s Office.”

(Additional reporting by Zelie Pollon in Santa Fe; Writing by Suzannah Gonzales and Alex Dobuzinskis,; Editing by Susan Heavey and Andrea Ricci)

Photo: Former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran (R), via Twitter.

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16 Comments

  1. itsfun October 24, 2015

    Throw her in prison. That is where all crooked politicians belong. May not be long before we are forced to build prisons just for politicians.

    Reply
    1. BillP October 24, 2015

      We agree again, there really is hope for the country!!

    2. Independent1 October 25, 2015

      If the American people don’t wake up and vote the GOP majority out of office soon, you may well be right.

      1. Max_ October 25, 2015

        Yeah Hillary for prison 2016………..

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mYW5nmS9ps

  2. Whatmeworry October 24, 2015

    At least she admitted she was a crook unlike the Clinton’s

    Reply
    1. Independent1 October 25, 2015

      Do you think that you’re the 1st person to make that accusation?? Don’t you think that there haven’t been many people around the world who have tried to prove just that over the past couple of decades?? That the Clintons are crooks!! But yet, no one has been successful in doing so!! Why would you suppose that’s true??

      Between Issa and Gowdy, the U.S. Congress blew over $10,000,000 trying to prove that Hillary acted wrongly over an absurd assumption, and came out having to eat crow!! They could PROVE NOTHING!! Why do you suppose that is so?? WASTED OVER TEN MILLION DOLLARS!!! TRYING TO PROVE AN ABSURDITY!!!!!!!!

      1. Dominick Vila October 25, 2015

        Boehner, McCarthy, Issa, and Gowdy did accomplish one thing: they provided Hillary the forum she needed to emerge as an almost unbeatable presidential candidate in 2016. To say that the GOP shot themselves in the foot would be an under statement.

      2. Whatmeworry October 27, 2015

        TIME TO TURN OFF MSNBC

        1. Independent1 October 27, 2015

          I’ve never watched MSNBC!! The only time I see any type of formal media outlets is when I travel once or twice a year as we don’t own a radio or TV. Sorry, but virtually everything I post is based on my own research.

  3. Bill October 24, 2015

    Lie, cheat, steal, the GOP playbook.

    Reply
    1. Independent1 October 25, 2015

      I don’t think anyone believes that Democrats are saints, but it really seems like being corrupt has become a way of life over the past 3-4 decades for many outright crooks who hide behind pretending to be GOP politicians!!

  4. Dominick Vila October 25, 2015

    Duran’s criminal activities destroyed the chances of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez to become the running mate of whomever gets the GOP nomination.

    Reply
    1. Independent1 October 25, 2015

      New Mexico has for some time been the somewhat blue state that deviates sharply from most other blue states, where it ends up along with mostly red states in lists like: The Most Dangerous States to Live In, The Most Miserable States to Live In, The States with the Worst Quality of Life, The States with the Most Homicides, The States with the Most People Living in Poverty and on and on. But the fact that the GOP took the state’s governance over 5-6 years ago, has clearly driven NM to plunge now even much further into the realms of corruption.

      1. Dominick Vila October 25, 2015

        That is a real shame, because New Mexico and Arizona are beautiful states.

      2. Karen Bille-Golden October 25, 2015

        Corruption knows no bounds turning all that could be beautiful into ugliness.

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