Dianna Duran, the subject of multiple fraud allegations, resigned Thursday from her position as New Mexico’s Secretary of State. Duran is accused of siphoning over ten thousand dollars from her own election fund and spending the money at casino’s. Her resignation is effective immediately, her spokesman said.
Reports the Wall Street Journal: “Ms. Duran, a Republican who was in the middle of her second term, stepped down late Thursday but had not made a public announcement as of early Friday morning. She had been facing calls from both parties to resign following the 64-count complaint filed by Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat, on Aug. 28.”
As a high-ranking state official, Duran’s office had oversight over New Mexico’s elections and campaign finance laws. State legislators had opened an investigation that many felt would have led to Duran, who is in her second term, being impeached.
“At midnight, Secretary of State Dianna Duran resigned from office. Until the Governor has had an opportunity to make an appointment, Deputy Secretary of State Mary Quintana will serve as acting Secretary of State,” Gov. Martinez’s spokesman Chris Sanchez said today. “The Governor hopes to make an appointment in the coming weeks, which would serve as the Secretary of State until the 2016 presidential election. In wake of Ms. Duran’s resignation, the Governor hopes we can come together and move forward as a state.”
Duran accepted a plea deal in Santa Fe District Court Friday. She had faced sixty-five counts, including dozens of charges of money laundering, embezzlement and identity theft. In the end, she accepted guilt on “two felony counts of embezzlement and four misdemeanor counts of embezzlement, money laundering and campaign finance violation,” reports KOB4.com.
Under terms of the plea, Duran will be subject to five years supervised probation, have no access to public funds, and will be restricted from entering state casinos. She also must repay the funds she stole. It’s being recommended as well that she seek counseling for a gambling addiction.
“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,” said Attorney General Hector Balder. “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.”