October 26, 2015

Dianna Duran pleaded guilty to these charges

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Attorney Erlinda Johnson (l) and her client Dianna Duran (r) awaiting a judge's decision on her plea deal in October, 2015.

On Friday, hours after resigning, Dianna Duran pleaded guilty to six criminal counts, including two felonies.

Attorney Erlinda Johnson (l) and her client Dianna Duran (r) awaiting a judge's decision on her plea deal.

Attorney Erlinda Johnson (l) and her client Dianna Duran (r) awaiting a judge’s decision on her plea deal.

Duran’s career in public office is over, though the plea deal with the office of the Attorney General means she will likely avoid jail time (sentencing has not happened yet and the judge could impose time in jail, at which point Duran would be able to withdraw her plea).

Here is exactly what Duran pleaded guilty to on Friday:

1. Embezzlement of over $250 but not more than $500, misdemeanor

2. Money laundering of under $10,000, misdemeanor:

These two charges stemmed from the same incident.

On December 22, 2014, Dianna Duran’s campaign received a $500 check from Shoats and Weaks, a lobbying firm out of Albuquerque. Duran herself endorsed the check, which was made out to “CTE Dianna Duran” which stands for Committee to Elect Dianna Duran, her campaign organization.

Instead of depositing the funds in her campaign account, she deposited the check, a week later on December 29, 2014, into her personal account.

Marla Shoats confirmed to the Attorney General that the the money was intended as a campaign donation.

The money helped Duran resolve an overdrawn account.

3. Embezzlement of over $500 but not more than $2,500, fourth-degree felony:

One of the two felonies that Duran pleaded guilty to. This took place in July of 2014, before she won reelection.

On July 15, Duran withdrew $1,486.90 from her campaign account to her personal bank account. There was no expenditure for that amount in any of her campaign finance accounts.

Like in the previous charges, Duran’s account was overdrawn before this and other deposits.

4. Embezzlement of over $2,500 but not more than $20,000, third-degree felony:

Duran’s campaign finance account showed that she reimbursed Leo Barraza, her husband, for $986.58 on November 20. The reimbursement was for travel.

However, the check from the campaign account to the joint personal checking account was for $2,850. There was no indication of any reimbursement to Barraza for $2,850.

The money allowed Duran to withdraw $4,500 at Sandia Casino on November 20, 2014. Again, the account was overdrawn before this and other deposits were put into the joint checking account.

 5. Campaign funds limitation on expenditures, misdemeanor:

On October 3, a check was made out to Barraza for $328 from Duran’s campaign account. The memo line on the check said it was for a “reimbursement” but no such expenditure was listed on any campaign finance report.

Again, the Attorney General’s investigation found evidence of gambling at Sandia Casino around this time that could not have happened without the deposit.

6. Campaign practices; content of report violation, a misdemeanor:

This charge did not relate to transferring money from a campaign account to a personal account, but instead said that she failed to report a campaign contribution from Mack Energy Corporation, a high dollar donor in New Mexico.

In all, Duran failed to accurately report $12,700 in donations from the company. A campaign finance report by Duran listed a $7,500 contribution from “PAC- P.O. Box 960, Artesia NM 88211.”

Other donations from the company listed the contributions as from “Mack Energy Corporation” with the same P.O. Box.

The charge said that this listing did “not adequately identify, by full name, the contributor, as is required by statute.”

Additionally, a $5,200 donation by Mack Energy Corporation was listed as only $2,900. This brought the total amount donated down to $10,400 from $12,700.

Duran was, at the time, Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws.