Former NM governor settles charges in 'scheme' to defraud investors

Posted at: 07/16/2014 11:46 AM
Updated at: 07/16/2014 5:37 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Toney Anaya, former Democratic governor of New Mexico from 1983 to 1987.
Toney Anaya, former Democratic governor of New Mexico from 1983 to 1987.

Former New Mexico Gov. Toney Anaya has agreed to settle fraud charges with federal investigators.

Anaya, 73, got into trouble because he acted as CEO of a company called “Natural Blue Resources” and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says he concealed from investors that two federal lawbreakers were actually running the company. He got out of trouble by “cooperating extensively” with the investigation, in the words of an SEC press release.

In other words, he squealed.

Anaya is a Santa Fe lawyer, a Democrat who served one four year term as governor back in the 1980s. Before that he served as the state’s Attorney General.  In 2009 and 2010 he ran “Natural Blue Resources”, an outfit that was supposed to be investing in companies drilling for water in the arid Southwest. The Securities and Exchange Commission says James Cohen and Joseph Corazzi called themselves consultants, but really ran the company. Both men were barred from running publicly-held companies because of previous violations of financial laws.

“Cohen and Corazzi concealed their involvement through a so-called ‘consulting’ agreement,” said SEC Enforcement Division chief Andrew Ceresney. “Investors in Natural Blue had a right to know who was running the company behind the scenes.”

“I am cooperating fully with the SEC and the charges they are pursuing are against two other individuals,” Anaya said. “No charges are pending against me.”

Anaya’s agreement with the SEC does not admit or deny wrongdoing. He is barred from participating in any offering of “penny stock” for at least five years. That is the kind of low-cost high-risk stock that “Natural Blue” was offering to its investors.

View: SEC order against Natural Blue, Cohen, and Corazzi