Dona Ana County Clerk: “We had a bad egg”
With five arrests over the past week in the Dona Ana County Clerks office, it leaves one wondering, what is next?!
Earlier this week Dona Ana County Clerk tried to calm the waters when he said, there was “a bad egg” in his office. Actually, Clerk Ellins, it looks like there may be FIVE bad eggs, and the arrests are climbing the leadership ladder…
Yesterday we wrote a brief update on the occurrences in Dona Ana County at the Clerk’s office and the alleged ID theft-related arrests. It has now been revealed that the people targeted were young people registered to vote and born in 1995. Or that’s the list investigators found after they obtained search warrants. The Dona Ana County Clerk made a statement claiming to care about the “sacred trust” of the community, yet earlier this week he FIRED the whistleblower whose actions brought about the arrests of numerous individuals who have been arrested on ID theft charges.
It isn’t exactly reassuring for the community when the whistleblower is fired after he tells his story. This doesn’t make Lynn Ellins office look any better– will Ellens ‘fess up (at best it looks like he’s been asleep at his post!) and take responsibility for failing the people of Dona Ana County?!
Yet another “bad egg”? Under yet other circumstances?
Friday the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Department arrested yet another Dona Ana County Clerk employee. This time the arrest was of Lorrie Munoz, the 32-year-old Bureau of Elections Supervisor. Oops– did I say current County Clerk employee? Munoz resigned from her position the day before her arrest. In New Mexico the Elections Bureau Chief serves as the County Clerk’s chief assistant and second-in-command in most County Clerk offices.
Friday’s arrest was not related to identity theft, but the employee’s alleged falsification of her monthly pay so that she could be approved for food stamps. The woman’s annual income was over $40,000. Munoz has served as Elections Bureau Supervisor since the resignation of her predecessor Mario Jimenez on the eve of the 2014 general election (which leads one to ask– what really were the circumstances surrounding Jimenez’ resignation?!).
More on this week’s previous arrests
Reportedly, the county employees arrested were allegedly part of a identity theft and check cashing scheme. The Las Cruces Sun-News reported that the county employee Maria L. Ceniceros arrested Friday has been charged with 113 counts of forgery, identity theft, fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit forgery, according to county officials. The arrests are said to be part of a broader investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department.
Dona Ana plagued with corruption
Dona Ana County has been plagued with corruption charge after corruption charge. Over the past five years many allegations of voter fraud, especially from the area east of Las Cruces made national news. Just three years ago Sunland Park had quite the voter fraud scandal break– there were a dozen arrests and the sensational story was the “gift that kept on giving.”
“It started with extortion charges,” said then-Dona Ana Third Judicial District Attorney Amy Orlando, “And from that it then led us to the voter fraud cases.”
Key words– “It started”…and it ended up growing.
So…in 2015, just three years later, Dona Ana County is once again rocked with a series of corruption incidents…
If you would like to voice your concerns, you can call 575-525-6156 (a number that Ellins has said anyone having questions about the fiasco can call). Be prepared to:1. Leave your name and phone number, 2. Politely tell Dona Ana County Clerk that it is awful he fired whistleblower Robert Hernandez over the ID theft-related arrests, 3. The action reflects negatively on the county and state, and 4. That he needs to resign.
“The trust of the community in their public servants is a sacred commodity, Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins said, “and it has been shaken hard by recent events in our office.”
Is your trust in the Dona Ana County Clerk’s office shaken?!
Looks like a FEW bad eggs have turned up– who incubated them?