October 2, 2015

New charges accuse Duran of identity theft of former state senator

Secretary of State Dianna Duran

Secretary of State Dianna Duran, courtesy photo

Dianna Duran’s legal problems increased on Friday, after the Attorney General filed new charges of identity theft against the Secretary of State.

Secretary of State Dianna Duran

Secretary of State Dianna Duran

The Secretary of State, who served for years as a state senator, is accused of felony identity theft against former state senator Don Kidd.

The basis for the allegation is that Duran used Kidd’s name without permission, “with the intent to defraud the campaign of Dianna J. Duran for Secretary of State, the contributors to the campaign or another.”

According to the complaint, officials from the Attorney General’s Office noticed an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican which included an interview with Kidd.

The complaint said Kidd told an investigator with the Attorney General’s office that he had not been in contact with Duran since 2004.

“[Special Agent] Gloria asked why Dianna J. Duran would list Mr. Kidd as the Treasurer, he said, ‘Well, I have no idea. I just don’t know, that’s amazing,’” the complaint said.

This echoes what Milan Simonich of The New Mexican wrote in his weekly Ringside Seat column:

The most prominent Don Kidd in New Mexico is a banker and a friend of Duran’s. Kidd and Duran served together in the state Senate. But Kidd said in an interview that he was not Duran’s campaign treasurer.

“If she listed me, she did it on her own,” he said. “I didn’t sign any checks or pay any bills for her, and that’s what a campaign treasurer does.”

The special agent who investigated the matter asked Kidd why Duran would have listed him as the treasure of her campaign. Kidd told officials that he contributed to her campaign, but never did any work for it.

The complaint listed 10 reports where Kidd is listed as the campaign’s treasurer.

Duran is facing dozens of criminal charges related to her campaign finance reports. As Secretary of State, Duran is in charge of enforcing campaign finance violations.

Initial charges said that Duran funneled campaign funds to personal accounts, apparently to use at casinos. Duran debited hundreds of thousands of dollars at casinos throughout the state in recent years, though the charges focused on tens of thousands of dollars that were moved from campaign accounts to Duran personal accounts.

The attorney for Duran said she had not seen the charges yet and couldn’t comment.

“The Attorney General’s Office didn’t have the courtesy to provide a copy to us,” Erlinda Johnson said in an email to New Mexico Political Report.

Recently, Duran’s lawyer filed a motion to remove the Attorney General from the case, saying that he is too biased to prosecute the case.

This isn’t the first time in the charges that Duran is accused of saying someone worked for her campaign and the supposed worker in question denied this.

In the original document charging Duran in late August, one example of her alleged charges was a check to a Sean Davis from the campaign account in 2011. That was endorsed back to Dianna Duran; Davis said he never worked for Duran’s 2010 campaign and did not receive or endorse any check.

In addition to her legal troubles, Duran is facing impeachment by the House. If impeached, Duran could face removal from office by the state Senate.

If Duran pleads guilty or is convicted of any felonies, she will also be removed from office—and lose her pension.

Update: Added comment from Duran’s attorney.

New charges against Dianna Duran