ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Nearly two months after investigators with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office conducted a sweeping raid on properties tied to Sheryl Williams Stapleton, the now-former state representative and Albuquerque Public Schools administrator is facing numerous felony charges. A grand jury indictment filed Monday morning accuses Williams Stapleton of racketeering, money laundering, fraud, and kickbacks among other charges for crimes alleged to have occurred between 2015 and 2021.
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“What we moved forward to is presenting a case on September 17th before a Grand Jury,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas. “That grand jury returned back 28 charges and we will now move forward to the part of the process where the defendant will have to go before a judge either on or before October 5 to be arraigned.”
In a July 2021 search warrant, investigators with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office accused Williams Stapleton of orchestrating lucrative contracts for a company called Robotics, which was providing educational software to APS students. APS paid Robotics more than $5 million over 13 years.
According to the initial search warrant in the case, investigators believe approximately 60% of money paid to Robotics by APS between 2014 and 2021 was subsequently redirected to Sheryl Williams Stapletons’ business interests, totaling $954,386.04. Investigators say bank records and surveillance video shows Williams Stapleton negotiated multiple checks written by APS to Robotics.
Since agents filed the initial search warrant in the case, Williams Stapleton resigned from her role as a state representative with the New Mexico Legislature in August. Williams Stapleton held the role of House Majority Leader until her resignation.
In late August, Albuquerque Public Schools “discharged” Williams Stapleton from her role as the director of the district’s Career and Technical Education Department. Several other employees have been placed on leave while the district continues to investigate allegations.
Williams Stapleton has maintained her innocence in prior communications through her attorney. In a statement sent after her resignation from the New Mexico Legislature, Williams Stapleton’s attorney Ahmad Assed wrote in part, “There is a high burden to present evidence to support proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the State must meet to overcome the presumption of her innocence. Ms. Williams Stapleton adamantly maintains that innocence.”
In a federal search warrant, the owner of Robotics told agents he has known Williams Stapleton for more than 30 years after they attended New Mexico State University together. He also claimed he was unaware of any wrongdoing. KRQE News 13 asked Williams Stapleton for an interview but did not hear back. So far, no federal charges have been filed.