Secretary of State Dianna Duran was charged Friday in state District Court with fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and other crimes related to allegedly converting thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to her personal use in 2013 and 2014. At the same time, it appears she was frequenting casinos across the state and withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars at them from accounts in her name. Democratic Attorney General Hector Balderas alleged 64 violations in a criminal complaint and information that said Duran shifted money between campaign and personal accounts and withdrew sums at eight casinos. Duran is a Republican in her second term; she was elected in 2010 and re-elected last year. The secretary of state, who oversees elections and campaign finance, has the role of state government ethics regulator.
The complaint says Duran violated “the ethical principles of public service” by converting intended campaign contributions to her own use.
Duran’s lawyer, Erlinda Johnson, issued a statement saying “we have identified some serious potential violations of law by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, in conducting the investigation.
“We hope this is not a politically motivated case and that the attorney general is not engaging in a selective prosecution of a political adversary. We ask the public to not jump to conclusions and we look forward to addressing the allegations in Court,” she said.