Ex-new Mexico Legislator Faces Fraud Charges, Appears in Federal Court

Ex-new Mexico Legislator Faces Fraud Charges, Appears in Federal Court

ABQ, New Mexico – Sheryl Williams Stapleton, a former state representative and Albuquerque Public Schools administrator was charged last month with taking millions of dollars for herself and appeared in front of a federal court on Tuesday.

Williams Stapleton walked into the federal courthouse. This was her first public appearance since 2021 when she was charged with crimes in her home state. She was charged with 35 counts, including a plot to defraud the United States, fraud, and several counts of bribery and money laundering. She said she wasn’t guilty of the criminal charges against her.

It is alleged that between 2013 and 2021, Williams Stapleton and Joseph Johnson gave more than $2.5 million in federal funds meant for APS projects to a business called Robotics Management Learning Systems. Johnson, who is friends with Williams Stapleton, owned and ran the business.

Authorities say he gave Williams Stapleton blank checks from robots. It is said that she wrote herself 233 checks worth more than $1 million. Among other things, the money was used to pay for a lawyer to protect a family member in a criminal case and to feed the concession stand at the New Mexico State Fair for her husband’s restaurant.

Johnson was charged as well on Tuesday morning. He said he wasn’t guilty of the 28 criminal charges against him. He is not being charged with anything. In 2021, Stapleton was charged with 28 state crimes. The hearing for her is set to start in late May.

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