Former state lawmaker Williams Stapleton indicted on 28 counts

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Sep. 20—Former Democratic state House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton faces 28 criminal counts, including racketeering, money laundering and fraud, following an Attorney General's Office investigation that began in late July.

The allegations are tied to Williams Stapleton's connections to a Washington, D.C.-based company, Robotics Management Learning Systems LLC, through her position at Albuquerque Public Schools as coordinator and director of the Career and Technical Education Department. The company provided web-based learning materials to the district for years. She has since been fired from the job.

Among the other charges listed in a grand jury indictment, filed Friday in the 2nd Judicial District Court, are counts of soliciting or receiving illegal kickbacks, violating the provisions of serving in public office and taking an unlawful interest in a public contract.

Most of the charges are felonies, many of which could result in jail time for the once-revered former lawmaker.

Earlier this year, Attorney General's Office investigators began looking into what they said was a lengthy and elaborate scheme in which Williams Stapleton was involved with the procurement of an annual contract with Robotics Learning and approved invoices for payments. A search warrant affidavit alleged she, companies she owns and nonprofits with which she is involved received money from Robotics Learning.

"The investigation focused on protecting students and the funding intended for their educational services, as public officials must act in the best interests of students; and our office looks forward to presenting this case before a jury trial," Attorney General Hector Balderas wrote in an email Monday.

Williams served as a member of the House of Representatives for over 25 years before resigning July 30 amid the investigation. She has denied any wrongdoing.

In addition to serving as the second-ranking member of the House, Williams Stapleton has been a member of the House Education Committee since at least 2011 and an interim member of the Legislative Education Study Committee since at least 2005.

Adding to her woes, the U.S. Attorney's Office issued a federal grand jury subpoena in late July for all Albuquerque Public Schools records related to her.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.

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