Top state Democrat leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton has been indicted over a massive money laundering, embezzlement, and racketeering scam.
According to reports, a search warrant affidavit was prepared by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and made public Wednesday.
The warrant details a criminal investigation into “the alleged nefarious receipt of millions of dollars of public funds over a decade-long period by individuals, including at least one high-ranking elected official.”
Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton is the second most powerful member of the NM House of Representatives.
Officials from the Attorney General’s Office served search warrants on Stapleton’s home and her employer – the Albuquerque Public Schools.
On Wednesday, police were seen raiding her home and business as part of a high-profile investigation into Stapleton’s financial kickback scam with a district vendor that has been paid more than $5 million in taxpayer cash over the last decade.
The AG’s Office is conducting a “criminal investigation of racketeering, money laundering, receiving illegal kickback, and violations of the Governmental Conduct Act,” the search warrant affidavit states.
According to KOB4, newly-appointed Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Scott Elder submitted a letter to the New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas in April referencing “Suspected Violations of Governmental Conduct Act and Procurement Code.”
In response to the scandal, Stapleton offered her resignation on Friday.
Usnews.com reports: Democratic Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton of Albuquerque said in a resignation letter that she “unequivocally” denies the allegations against her but decided she must devote her time and energy to fully defend herself.
“I have made the difficult decision that it is in the best interest of the state,” she wrote in the letter to Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.
House Speaker Brian Egolf released the letter Friday along with a joint statement from Egolf, House Majority Whip Doreen Gallegos and House Majority Caucus Chair D. Wonda Johnson.
“Given the weight of the allegations against Rep. Stapleton and the ongoing investigation, her resignation from the House is appropriate and in the best interest of the Legislature and the state,” they said.
Williams Stapleton, a teacher who was the House’s second-ranking Democrat, began serving in the Legislature in 1995. She has been placed on paid administrative leave by the Albuquerque’s school district.
The district also has placed on administrative leave 11 additional staff who are subjects of the investigation.