This week, a grand jury charged former state Sen. Phil Griego with 22 new criminal counts centering mostly on embezzlement and perjury for allegedly using campaign money for personal use and lying about it. In total, Griego faces 19 new felonies and three misdemeanors. This adds to the nine previous corruption counts Griego was charged with last summer by a district court judge in Santa Fe. Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office is prosecuting Griego. The new charges include 13 perjury counts, each of which are fourth-degree felonies, for lying on several of his campaign finance reports between 2012 and 2015.
The highest-ranking official at the state Taxation and Revenue Department became somewhat reflective Tuesday over last week’s sudden resignation of his former boss, Demesia Padilla. At an annual state legislative conference hosted by the New Mexico Tax Research Institute, the department’s Deputy Secretary John Monforte said he’s known Padilla for 10 years and came to the department when she was appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez. Padilla resigned as secretary last week after an agent for Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a search warrant affidavit on her home. Monforte is now heading the department. The affidavit described an ongoing investigation that points to possible tax evasion and alleged embezzlement of money from a business she once did accounting work for, including while she was TRD secretary.
Attorney General Hector Balderas charged Secretary of State Dianna Duran with 64 counts related to using campaign cash for personal use. The Albuquerque Journal was first to report on the charges that were filed in state district court. “Today we filed an Information alleging 64 criminal violations by Secretary of State Dianna J. Duran including embezzlement, fraud, money laundering, violations of the Campaign Practice Act, tampering with public records, conspiracy, and a Governmental Conduct Act violation,” AG spokesman James Hallinan said in an e-mailed statement. “Our office will proceed transparently by way of preliminary hearing. Through that process, all facts supporting these allegations will be presented. That is all the information that we are able to provide at this time.”