Dianna Duran, who resigned as secretary of state Thursday night, took a plea deal in the criminal case against her in Santa Fe District Court Friday.
Duran pleaded guilty to two felony counts of embezzlement and four misdemeanor counts of embezzlement, money laundering and campaign finance violations.
She was accused of using campaign money to pay off casino debts and originally faced 65 counts, including embezzlement, money laundering and identity theft.
The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office would recommend a suspended sentence on the condition of five years of supervised probation as long as the court imposes specific terms, including no access or control of public funds, repayment of funds to campaign donors or the State Treasury and prohibiting Duran from entering gambling
establishments. The state has also recommended she participate in counseling and treatment, which may include treatment for gambling addiction.
Duran’s attorney also said the state will not seek to forfeit her pension benefits since the offenses were committed as a candidate, not as secretary of state.
However, if the judge decides to impose jail time, the plea deal could be withdrawn.
View: Full Plea Agreement.
Sentencing has been set for Dec. 14.
“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,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a 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.”