Dianna Duran Resigns Over Gambling Case: New Mexico’s Secretary Of State Pleads Guilty To Fraud

Even as Dianna Duran resigns from her government position as New Mexico’s Secretary of State, more information has come out about her crimes, which include embezzlement of campaign funds in order to pay off gambling debts. Duran has pleaded guilty to multiple crimes before the court in order to reach a plea deal, and now, the New Mexico Republican leadership is scrambling to cover the issue.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, a famous megachurch pastor in Singapore was found guilty of embezzling church money to pay for his wife to become a Christian music pop star.

According to KOB, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office originally considered Dianna Duran guilty of 65 counts of various crimes, including embezzlement, money laundering, and identity theft. In order to reach the plea deal, Duran pleaded guilty to two felony counts of embezzlement and four misdemeanor counts of embezzlement, money laundering, and campaign finance violations. She was also accused of using campaign money to pay off casino gambling debts.

The judge in the case has yet to decided if he will impose jail time, so it is possible the plea deal will be withdrawn. As part of the deal, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is recommending that Duran received a suspended sentence based upon a five-year probation. The court would also require that Duran would repay embezzled funds to campaign donors and the New Mexico treasury. The former Secretary of State would also participate in counseling and treatment for her gambling addiction, and she would not be allowed to enter any casino or gambling establishments.

As Dianna Duran resigns from her position, Attorney General Hector Balderas has released a statement.

“I am pleased that Dianna Duran has resigned from office and plead guilty to felony embezzlement, money laundering, and violations of the Campaign Reporting Act. Dianna Duran’s admission of guilt will allow the State of New Mexico to move forward,” Balderas said in the statement. “After today, citizens can be confident that Dianna Duran will no longer have supervisory control of public funds or the reporting process within the Secretary of State’s Office. 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. My office will continue to prosecute individuals who violate the public trust.”

Viki Harrison, the executive director of Common Cause New Mexico, says Dianna Duran’s resignation is the first step in restoring the public’s trust in the state’s political system. Harrison believes the issue is important because the Secretary of State is responsible for ensuring the “integrity of elections and ensuring unbiased, non-partisan enforcement of campaign finance laws.”

New Mexico’s Republican leadership also released a statement.

“We respect Dianna Duran’s decision to step down amid these recent accusations and help restore credibility to the Secretary of State’s Office. Voters rightfully demand that our elected officials be accountable to the law, and our party will continue to advocate for accountability in government,” wrote New Mexico GOP Chairman Debbie Maestas.

Chris Sanchez, a spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez’s office, said Deputy Secretary of State Mary Quintana will serve as acting Secretary of State in the wake of Duran’s resignation. Governor Martinez is hoping to make an official appointment in the coming weeks, and this person will serve as the official New Mexico Secretary of State until the 2016 elections. Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairwoman Deb Haaland also released a statement saying they hope “trust can be restored in the Secretary of State’s office,” although she added they plan on having a “strong Democratic candidate” ready for 2016.

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