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Gambling Addiction Gets New Mexico Official in Big Trouble
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Dianna Duran

Summary: New Mexico’s former Secretary of State was taking campaign donations to fund her gambling addiction and will face intense public scrutiny for her actions.

The former New Mexico Secretary of State may be spending the holidays behind jail. Dianna Duran was sentenced by a district judge to 30 days in jail in addition to a $28,000 fine. Duran was accused with stealing campaign donations to finance her gambling addiction.


Duran resigned from her position in October and has now pleaded guilty to money laundering, embezzling, and other charges but can withdraw the guilty plea until Wednesday. If she does not withdraw the plea, she will have to report to the Santa Fe County jail for her 30-day sentence.

Duran asked for forgiveness and leniency in a tearful address to the court, “I’m truly sorry.” Her attorney claims Duran’s addiction started as an entertaining hobby spending thousands of dollars in casinos across New Mexico but turned into a serious addiction.

The judge was harsh with Duran because of her position as an elected official stating, “The reason you are here is because you were entrusted by the people of New Mexico to enforce the campaign laws. Although you stole the money from these (political donors), the damage is much greater.” Judge Ellington was referring to the lack of trust the public may have in elected officials because of her actions. He also saw her statements and court filings as the typical rationalization and excuses that addicts give.

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Duran is raising three grandsons with her husband, filing a request to not serve her time until after the holidays by Ellington denied the request. She was charged with 65 criminal counts but agreed to plead guilty to just two felonies and four misdemeanors. She could have faced over 8 years for the charges she pleaded guilty to but the judge did suspend most of the sentence. Instead, he gave her 2,000 hours of community service as part of a “restorative justice” program and to write letters of apologies to those whose donations were stolen by her. She must also make four speeches a month for three years, 144 total, to schools and civic groups about her life, crimes she committed, and the effect they have had.

Public corruption is something many states are taking on as more and more cases are coming forward.





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