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Chapman guilty of bribery, state agencies still buy from briber

By   /   July 30, 2011  /   No Comments

A former Corrections Department facilities manager must forfeit $237,080 and could face as much as 10 years in prison after she pleaded guilty on Thursday to accepting bribes in exchange for state contracts. The company that paid the bribes is still contracting with the state.

The Santa-Fe based Omni Development Corporation so far this year has landed state contracts totaling more than $1.6 million. Omni netted nearly $2.2 million in state contracts last year, and more than $4 million in Corrections Dept. business alone in the three years during which Chapman collected bribes.

Former corrections facility manager Lauri Chapman pleaded guilty to 30 various federal counts based on charges that she took bribes from Omni between February, 2007 and April, 2009. A price agreement procedure Chapman first implemented in 2007 let her select contractors without soliciting competitive bids. Omni became the sole provider of roofing service for the department.

An audit of contracts Chapman oversaw revealed extensive irregularities, including $3.7 million in insufficiently documented or disallowed costs charged by Omni and two other companies. Omni was paid nearly $1.3 million for costs that were not supported by state purchasing procedures.

Auditors turned their findings over to the FBI. Their report said Chapman often worked in the interests of Omni and other contractors, rather than for the state agency. She exchanged non-business e-mails with the contractors, and in one instance provided to Omni confidential state e-mail that raised questions about Omni’s work.

According to the auditor’s report, the problem was neither limited to Omni, nor to the Dept of Corrections. The audit discovered similar pricing agreements used by other state agencies that have probably permitted otherwise disallowed purchases beyond the Corrections Department.

“Due to the insufficient limitations contained in the price agreement’s scope of work, there is a significant risk that additional unallowed purchases have been made by other agencies using the price agreement,” auditors wrote. “The weaknesses also create opportunities for other vendors to charge for services that are unnecessary or not allowed.”

The auditors’ list of potential criminal violations that “may have occurred” included:

  • fraud
  • paying or taking public money for services not rendered
  • tampering with public records
  • violations of the procurement code
  • violations of the governmental conduct act
  • making or permitting a false public voucher

While three companies were named in the audit, only Omni was identified in federal court documents as paying bribes. A statement from U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales said Chapman accepted bribes in the form of cash, online transfers checks and credit card payments. Chapman accepted 30 various payments “from Omni in exchange for awarding NMCD jobs valued at approximately $4 million to Omni” according the U.S. Attorney’s statement announcing her guilty plea.

According to evidence a federal prosecutor would have presented had Chapman gone to trial, Chapman used her maiden name when she formed a company named Zia Construction, Inc. which accepted some of the bribes Omni paid. The company never performed any work for Omni. Instead, Omni’s owner Anthony Moya went to work for investigators. Serving 18 months in federal prison on a separate embezzlement case, Moya recorded a conversation with Chapman.

In that conversation Moya “expressed concern about Omni’s illegal bribes to Chapman being discovered.” Chapman suggested claiming that the payments were a loan against her state retirement although her retirement, valued at $50,000, was insufficient to repay a purported $80,000 loan she later discussed with investigators.

Moya in 2009 pleaded guilty to separate federal embezzlement charges related to stealing money from Santo Domingo Pueblo from 2002 through 2004. In a plea agreement, Moya admitted misusing about $312,000 from the tribes’ gas station, which was managed by his then father-in-law, lobbyist and Bill Richardson ally Walter “Butch” Maki. Moya was sentenced to 18 months in prison on that conviction, but he was released in nine months after cooperating in the FBI’s Corrections Dept. investigation.

A collection of promotional of Web sites paint Moya as a charitable community leader who built Omni Development over the past 25 years. One page on the sites ever-so vaguely alludes to his prison experience, noting as “ironic” that his company had worked on prisons.

The other two companies named in the audit were not mentioned in Chapman’s indictment, though one is embroiled in a separate corrupt-procurement investigation. Police last year seized documents from Advantage Asphalt, in connection with allegations that Advantage had billed the county for materials the county provided. Advantage, owned by former City of Santa Fe employee and union president. Anthony Montoya, provided the majority of Santa Fe County construction services for several years.

That investigation also targeted then Santa Fe County Public Works director James Lujan. Lujan was subsequently was fired from his county job, and soon found work as city manager in Espanola. The investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department is apparently ongoing but has been overshadowed by the arrest of Sheriff Greg Solano on charges that he sold department property on E-Bay.

In a response to the state audit of Corrections Dept. contracts, Secretary of Corrections Lupe Martinez noted that Gov. Susanna Martinez had signed an executive order barring state agencies from doing business with companies engaged in corrupt activities.

Of the three companies singled out in the audit of Corrections Department contracts as providing insufficient documentation to support billed costs, only Omni has landed nearly as much state business so far this year as last — about 95 percent as compared to the same time last year. Omni’s contracts so far this year are with the General Services and Military Affairs departments. Advantage has received no state contracts this year, according to a state Web site.

As of July 8, HEI, Inc. in 2011 had signed $823,271 in state contracts – slightly more than half as much as it had signed with the state by this time last year. Only HEI contracted with Corrections Dept. so far this year, though $23,186 in Corrections Dept. contracts so far this year is only about 7 percent of its Corrections Dept. business for the same period last year.

Among the auditor’s findings, HEI submitted invoices for $2 million worth of work where descriptions were too vague to identify what work had been performed. HEI also billed for subcontractors’ work outside the terms of a price agreement, jacked up material costs and billed for labor costs not supported in records shown to auditors.

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  • Richard

    Watchdog: I clicked on the tag New Mexico Correctional Department and read the Forum(s) related to Probation and Parole Employees. After reading the postings and facts related to the posting, I pondered.

    What is Gov. Martinez fearful of in allowing these persons to continue in their positions?

    In reading the posting and facts related to this article, I pondered.

    What is Gov. Martinez fearful of in allowing these contracts with this company to continue? Isn’t paying a bribe as unlawful as receiving a bribe? Corporations can be criminally charged as well as their owners.

    An investigation of Lea County Correctional Facility support services warden Alicia Nicholson and the nepotism involved with maintenance, food, medicine, medical staff, private parties for staff and the food that is taken home by staff would fill pages here.

    What is Gov. Martinez fearful of by failing to call for an investigation of the Corrections Department as a whole?

    Notwithstanding the political contributions of GEO, I believe it true that a cleansing of the Department of Corrections would in fact eliminate at least 30% of our current budge deficit.

    The private prisons in New Mexico are nothing more than a human warehouse for profit and:

    THOSE PRIVATE PRISONS WHERE ESTABLISHED IN RURAL COMMUNITIES FOR THE PURPOSE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CONSULTING CONTRACTS FOR POLITICANS THAT SUPPORTED GEO!!!!!!!! CHECK THE RECORDS FOR SANTA ROSA, HOBBS AND CLAYTON IN ESTABLISHING THE PRISON CONTRACTS.

    Follow the money of those that benefit from the private prisons.

    Gov. Martinez are you going to continue to allow the Department of Corrections private prisons to operate as an economic development endeavor, at the expensive of many a family?

    I pray not.

  • Robert

    All this while collecting a too big paycheck at my expense.

  • http://nmwatchdog Michelle

    Is this really any big surprise learning that NMCD takes bribes? The Corrections Department especially the PROBATION PAROLE DIVISION is the most corrupt. Why corruption runs rampant through out that whole department –abuse of take home cars, Directors not being qualified for the job they hold, late night parties being held at NMCD and certain Probation Depts after hours on tax payers dollars.. You ask why Govenor Martinez, dosen’t step up and do something??? HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

    well thats easy folks she’s just decided to look the other way and let her friend David Jablonski ALSO FROM LAS CRUCES, try and cover their tracks by putting honest officers who make waves for them in BOGUS IA INVESTIGATIONS.. Hey Watch Dog, look up a lawsuit thats pending against NMCD now– the Plaintiff is Tonya Toomey and she’s spilling all the Depts dirty laundry.. I hope when this goes to trial NMCD and all their corrupt bulldogs get life sentences. I hope Ms. Toomey is allowed to play her taped recordings of all of you on television.. Kick backs and bribes your all going to go down soon..

  • http://nmwatchdog carlos

    I agree probation parole is the worst corrupt organization under :the corrections umbrella.The plantiff you mention Michelle is a great example of what can happen if you try and take matters into your own hands. not only was she beaten almost to death but she had to suffer retaliation on a daily basis from charlene knipfings staff. I downloaded the lawsuit and read about it..Omg Omg Omg Omg….. I hope this poor poor lady is vindicated soon..

  • http://nmwatchdog Bill

    This was a great article. ” Good job watchdog”

    The NMCD and Probation Parole Depts have been under a lot of scutiny lately. That Larry Flynn Investigation, That Larry Franco Investigation, Probation Parole Director Charlene something??, HR Elona Cruz living for free on NMCD and having tax payers pay her utility bills, ( shower bills) The Probation Parole Auditor and his own private report of his own program, Warden Joe Williams, private million dollar gym, Willie Marquez and his poor budgeting ( million dollar loss ) for NMCD. The list is endless and won’t stop until somebody goes to jail or retires after their not aloud to double dip for the 3rd time. The new govenor needs to wake up and keep her campaign promises before she’s impeached.

  • sven

    Hello Bill and all the others from postings 1 to 5.

    Well now, what about that Larry Franco investigation or should I say investigations. There were many; some to target the whistle blowers and others to white wash or cover up his dirty deeds. Cover ups which led to an IA investigator perjuring herself. How else could Charlene Knipfing have the audacity to promote him, and keep him in that position no less while all of that was going on?

    Oh but there were two whistle blowers that broke through the wall. One in particular paid a heavy price as a target of Charlene Knipfing and her Hench men and women. Nonetheless, he managed to get what appeared to be a simple thirty day posting throughout the NMCD. The posting I am making a reference to, is more so now, but should have been all along, an obvious and significant piece of the puzzle.

    You got that super sleuth? I am talking to you RC. Your boys, (i.e. the two Larry’s) are facing serious charges. And if Mr. Flynn should escape through yet another cover up or white washing, questions WILL be asked about how he managed that one too. So when the two Larry’s roll, (and they will), more rats will be flushed out. Will one of them be you RC?

  • http://nmwatchdog carlos

    To sven larry franco was in sandoval courts today facing the judge on his child pornography charges.. the other larry last name flynn is warden lupe martinez boyfriend and hes so far being protected by his girlfriend…

  • http://nmwatchdog Michelle

    To Carlos,

    Thanks for the update on Larry Franco ” What a Pervert” .

    Probation Parole is the most corrupt dept within the corrections dept. I hope they all go down soon!!

  • sven

    To Carlos and Michelle;

    Larry Franco has his arraignment today. He is facing 6 counts from a federal grand jury indictment. Some of the evidence is compelling in that it fits in with the time line from when one of the whistle blowers busted him for tampering with the Union’s computer. The incident occurred in October 2007. Currently one of the counts Larry Franco is charged with is possession of child pornography dating back to October 2007.

    To Rob Casler: Does that ring any bells for you?

  • Rick

    The stuff that Michelle bring up is why Gary King ducked out on charging in this case, his law enforcement partners at Corrections do the same things he does at the AGO. Tons of take home cars assigned to people that do not need them, Blackberries for people that don’t need them, parties on state time with state funds or donations from vendors, Directors not being qualified for the job they hold, nepotism like the Chief of Staff who supervises her own husband, campaign contributions from contractors, you name it.

  • http://nmwatchdog carlos

    Watch dog you need to investigate probation parole further. find out why rose bobchek the probation parole supervisor of santa fe got away with her husband being paroled out of prison and not having to show up to his parole officer.. isnt there some sort of conflint of interest when 1 person is the region manager for probation parole…being rose bobcheck and the other is a violent parolee being married….how did rose bobchek get her job???????? why didnt her hubby report to his parole officer???? all tell you it has something to do with a lot of cmis documents being shreeded. franco went down rose and your next.

  • http://nmwatchdog Michelle

    Carlos,

    Rose Bobheck used to a case manager for the prison. I think she divorced hubby why she was supervising him. Rose is now seeing Alan Dominguez whose got several DV charges against him. Mr. Dominguez was just transfered to Espanola because he was out in the field and shot somebodies dog. My question is this, How does a Probation Parole Officer who has DV charges (past and present) get to carry a Firearm? Well the answer is plain to see, buddy up to Charlene Knipfing and David Jablonski and you can do anything corrupt and you wont get into trouble.

  • bunnyslippers

    And how about the “housewife” Charlene Knipfing ? Her appointment by Richardson was a joke but then she gets another 98K a year appointment from Suzanna for a job created just for her with no job duties ! If people are gonna be paid for nothing but because of who their husband is just let them stay home and pay them so we don’t have to look at the bag lady drag around the office in her bedroom slippers !! UGH !! Please be advised all Probation and Parole supervisors just got big raises, who says crime doesn’t pay !

  • Richard

    Can anyone understand this? Susana’s salary is $109,990.00 and she has drawn $151,882.00 according the following state website.

    http://www.sunshineportalnm.com/sample/#section=Employee

  • http://nmwatchdog Michelle

    How about this one, Director David Jablonski, is stepping down as Probation nParole Director and going to work for Gov. Suzanne Martinez as her person al aide.. This is true folks and it was announced yesterday to Probation and Parole stuff. CORRUPTION does pay off.

    I hope Gov. Martinez dosen’t get reelected because she’s as dirty as RICHARDSON.

  • http://nmwatchdog carlos

    Wow and more wow. at least Jablonski is being sent away from probation parole..I see both positions for Director and Deputy Director of Probation Parole are now being advertised for hire. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm who will get the positions? Erma Sedillo Jeremiah Ababdo no hes to stupid hmmmmmmmmmm you think your safe Jablonski think again.

  • KC

    How about Larry Flynn and lupe Martinez drama. A few months ago Larry Flynn walks into central office carrying a 45 pistol twirling around his finger, signs posted everywhere, no weapons allowed. Three weeks ago Larry Flynn while on admin leave w pay for about the last five months comes to central office and has a big verbal confrontation w Elona Cruz and Lupe Martinez has to go out and get Larry to leave. Again no disciplinary or incident report. Now this past Saturday Larry unloads his weapon at the house on state property. Per policy state police should be called. Guess? No incident report or disciplinary again. With just the incidents above, jerry roarke, deputy director, secretary Martinez and bureau chief Elona Cruz does nothing about this. Governor Martinez, really are you crazy and waiting for lupe or another NMCD employee get shot NY this crazy idiot! Come on already, if lupe is engaged to this idiot, doesn’t it tell you, you have the wrong person running corrections along with Jerry roarke, doesn’t this all say, they aren’t doing the right thing or making the right decision. Get rid of lupe and her ghetto drama, this is a joke already. You have these two idiots on grounds and working here. I will not be surprise when he beats her and she walks in with a black eye. Sounds ridiculous, but this is ridiculous!!!!

  • David Collins

    @Richard re: Gov. Martinez’ salary… The “position mid-point” of $151,882 for the Governor’s salary shown on the state information portal is not gross pay, nor an indication of how much pay that employee has collected. It’s information that does not belong there, as far as I can tell.

    In most state jobs, compensation for the position is defined in a “pay-band” the top of which is 78 percent to 100 percent as much as the bottom tier in that band. The “position mid-point” is just that — the middle of a pay band for that position. But there is no “mid-point” salary for elective state officers.

    In the case of elective state officers, their salaries are determined by statute – NMSA 8-1-1. That statute sets the governor’s salary at $110,000 (not the $109,990 shown on the state information portal). Why the state’s official information portal lists a “mid-point” salary for the governor when that position has no pay band and no “mid-point” is an interesting question.

    I could speculate that it arose from hasty, systematic computation to fill out that column. $151,882 is 150 percent of $109,990. Unlike classified positions, the top tier of exempt positions is 200 percent of the bottom tier (compared to 178 percent for most classified jobs). The mid-point between the governor’s salary and twice her salary is $151,882.

  • http://nmwatchdog carlos

    Well warden lupe martinez has stepped down.. why is the prison in las cruces interviewing her for warden? my guess is santa fe bureau chief elona cruzs exhubby at the las cruces prison has gotten lonely and needs a new girlfriend.

  • vanessa

    Michelle and Carlos, Rose Bobchak’s husband was convicted of calling in false prescriptions and was given unsupervised probation which his case was never entered into cmis. Exactly how does Allen Dominguez get to care his gun when he has dv charges and has had numerous interal invesitgations but he’s kept his job he has shot more then one dog. how about rose bobchak having her windows on her state vehicle broken by her husband after he found inapproiate text messages from a state police officer on her work cell phone. All those top managers at probation and parole are corrupt and two faced. They did to do an internal investigation into Rose Bobchak and maybe they should think about drug testing her as well!

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