Election consultants found guilty of fraud, other charges

Posted at: 01/31/2013 8:49 PM
Updated at: 01/31/2013 10:11 PM
By: KOB.com staff

A federal jury found consultants to the former New Mexico secretary of state guilty of charges that they conspired to steal voter education money.

Armand Gutierrez, 65, of Corpus Christi, Texas and Joseph Kupfer, 49, of Rio Rancho were found guilty of fraud and conspiracy charges after an eight-day trial in Albuquerque.

Gutierrez and Kupfer had provided consulting services to the Secretary of State’s Office under “Help American Vote Act” contracts. But Gutierrez and Kupfer conspired together to fraudulently obtain federal “Help America Vote Act” funds by charging for services they did not perform.

Those funds were administered by former New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil Giron.

Vigil Giron was accused of misusing taxpayer money on a voter education campaign back in 2006. That case was dismissed in November arguing Vigil Giron did not get a speedy trial.

Prosecutors are appealing the decision.

Vigil Giron, who has remarried and carries the name Vigil Gutierrez, served two terms as secretary of state before leaving office in 2006.

Sentencing hearings have yet to be set for Gutierrez and Kupfer who will remain on condition of release pending their sentencing hearings.