Feds indict former state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton for APS scheme 

Feds indict former state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton for APS scheme – 10 p.m. update

The feds have indicted former Albuquerque Public Schools administrator and lawmaker Sheryl Williams Stapleton.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Former state lawmaker Sheryl Williams Stapleton now faces 35 new federal counts for an alleged money laundering scheme.

Prosecutors filed a federal indictment Tuesday, and records show there was a first court appearance on Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors describe a corruption case. They say Williams Stapleton used her positions as a state lawmaker and an Albuquerque Public Schools official to enrich herself.

On Wednesday, we learned they believe the amount she stole for herself is more than $1.1 million, out of the more than $3 million in public funding she funneled away from APS Career and Technical Education programs.

Federal prosecutors describe a scheme that investigators halted in 2021, saying as a state lawmaker, she worked to pass certain funding. Then, through her job with APS, she got the district to pay a software company she helped run for services.

To divert the funding into her bank accounts, she allegedly used entities like a restaurant and charity organizations, including a nonprofit she said was dedicated to helping people of color in New Mexico.

She also allegedly wrote 233 checks and picked them up from a P.O. box.

On top of all that, federal prosecutors say she lied on her taxes about it all. 

She’s indicted along with another person, Joseph Johnson, who’s facing the same charges. Federal prosecutors say he helped her steal the money.

If they’re convicted, they’d have to hand over the money, and Williams Stapleton’s 2017 Volvo.

Williams Stapleton has stated that she’s innocent. She’s a free woman as of Wednesday night, waiting on her next court appearance set for April 9.

KOB 4 reported in January that there could be a plea deal for the 28 state charges she faces – that trial has been delayed.

If convicted, Williams Stapleton and Johnson both face 20 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.