Colorado man sentenced for interstate communications threatening to kill New Mexico official, attorney

Albuquerque News

FILE – This Jan. 14, 2013, file photo shows a gavel sits on a desk inside the Court of Appeals at the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in Denver. The coronavirus pandemic has crippled the U.S. legal system, creating constitutional dilemmas as the accused miss their days in court. Judges from California to Maine have postponed trials and nearly all in-person hearings to keep crowds from packing courthouses. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Colorado man was sentenced earlier this week to 15 months in federal prison for making threats to a New Mexico official. In December, 40-year-old Andrew Graham pleaded guilty in federal court to sending communications threatening to kill an official with the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department as well as an attorney with a private law firm.

Graham had initially sought help from the department and the firm in recovering money taken from a trust fund, stolen by Paul Donisthorpe in the Desert State fraud case. Due to the limited success of those recovery efforts, Graham accused state officials and his private attorneys of being complicit in the loss of his funds. His communications with New Mexico officials and the law firm also became more hostile and, eventually, threatening.

On December 21, 2018, Graham sent an email to the Director of the Financial Services Division, stating in part, “If this continues, I will come down there and start killing people… I will hunt you down and i’ll you if you continue to willingly participate in this fraud.” On January 2, 2019, Graham left a voicemail with the private law firm. In that message, Graham used particularly graphic language threatening to kill an African-American attorney, to whom he repeatedly referred by a racial slur.

While the defense requested a sentence involving no incarceration, the prosecution requested a prison sentence based on the graphic, violent nature of the threats and the fact that both victims were trying to help victims of the Desert State fraud recover their stolen money. In addition to 15 months in prison, Graham will also be subject to two years supervised release following his release from prison.

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