Feds Hammer Former State Law Maker and Friend with Indictment


March 28, 2024, 4:19 pm , ,
Former State Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton

ALBUQUERQUE – A former State Representative and her longtime friend are facing federal charges for long-term scheme to defraud the U.S. government. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, 66, of Albuquerque, and Joseph Johnson, 72, of Chantilly, Virginia, are scheduled to appear in federal court for an initial appearance on April 9, 2024.

The indictment alleges that from about July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2020, Stapleton used her position at Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) as Director of the Perkins Project and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Coordinator to direct approximately 40% of APS’s non-personnel CTE funding to Robotics Management Learning Systems (Robotics), a company owned and operated by her close personal friend, Johnson, for use of and support for the CyberQuest software in APS classrooms.

Stapleton reviewed and approved Robotics’ invoices and directed other APS employees under her supervision to approve those invoices. APS then issued checks to Robotics and mailed them to a post office box in Albuquerque. At Johnson’s request, Stapleton personally retrieved the checks from the post office box and deposited them into the Robotics bank account. In return, Johnson provided blank checks for the Robotics business checking account.

Stapleton used the blank checks to write approximately 233 checks from Robotics for her own benefit, totaling approximately $1,152,506.00, or 35% of the funds APS paid to Robotics. Specifically:

  • Stapleton wrote about 60 checks totaling about $286,772.20 from Robotics to S. Williams & Associates, a company Stapleton owned and controlled. 
  • Stapleton wrote about 56 checks totaling about $313,123.48 from Robotics to Taste of the Caribbean, an Albuquerque restaurant that Stapleton owned, and her family members operated.
  • Stapleton wrote about 104 checks totaling about $479,960.86 from Robotics to Ujima Foundation, a nonprofit entity that Stapleton and Johnson operated and controlled together.
  • Stapleton wrote about 11 checks totaling about $72,649.16 from Robotics to other parties providing goods and services to Stapleton, including for a remodeling of Stapleton’s house.

On March 26, 2024, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Stapleton and Johnson with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, 13 counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and five counts each of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

Stapleton is additionally charged with one count of fraud and false statements and nine counts of money laundering.

“New Mexicans deserve public systems that serve them and public servants who are honest, effective, and worthy of our trust,” said U.S. Attorney Uballez. “Fraud against the government is just a fancy way to say that someone is stealing your hard-earned tax dollars. Public corruption is a fancy way of saying that they abuse your trust to do so. When public officials steal from our pockets and from our children, we will restore your faith in our public systems through vigorous investigation and zealous prosecution.”

“Rooting out public corruption remains one of IRS Criminal Investigation’s highest priorities,” said Carissa Messick, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Phoenix Field Office. “Today’s indictment underscores our commitment to work in a collaborative effort with our federal partners, promoting honest and ethical governing at all levels, and prosecuting those who allegedly violated the public’s trust.”

“This former lawmaker and educator along with her friend are charged with cheating the most innocent of victims – Albuquerque school children — as well as America’s taxpayers whose hard-earned dollars fund vital education programs,” said Adam Shanedling, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s Western Regional Office.  “OIG Special Agents will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of our nation’s students.  America’s students, their families, and taxpayers deserve nothing less.”

“Violations of public trust by public officials, a position of trusted authority, is a true cancer to society.  Our citizens have the right to expect that public officials conduct themselves in a fair, honest, and impartial manner. Standing in defiance of public corruption is a fundamental priority for the FBI,” said FBI-Albuquerque Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda. “There is no level of acceptable corruption. We ask anyone with information regarding such matters to contact their nearest FBI field office or resident agency so that we can bring them to justice.”

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

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez, Carissa Messick, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation Phoenix Field Office, Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, and the U.S. Department of Education made the announcement today.

The IRS Criminal Investigation Phoenix Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the FBI Albuquerque Field Office and U.S. Department of Education – Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Peña is prosecuting the case.

it is unclear if the Sheryl M. Williams Stapleton African American Performing Arts and Exhibit Hall, located on the State Fair Grounds will be renamed. Williams Stapleton has state and federal charges related to this embezzling scheme.


Please Request Permission Before Disseminating on Other Social Media Platforms.

2 thoughts on “Feds Hammer Former State Law Maker and Friend with Indictment”
  1. This slimey, uppity excuse for a “lawmaker and educator” was nothing more than a DEI, Woke, checkbox appointee while at APS, and as for the state legislature, obviously she was re-elected over and over again by the same slimey liberal progressive ilk, to do their bidding for them at our expense. God only knows how much money she took from us taxpayers in addition to the millions she fraudulently stole from us in this case, not to mention enriching her son’s “catering” bidness, boyfriends, and all the rest. Kinda reminds me of New Mexico’s own version of Fani Willis….

    1. My Sentiment as well . I thought of Fani Willis as soon as I started to read the story. The Educator will skate, without prejudice. The prostitute will likely never spend a night in jail. There are other prominent people involved. If the prostitute educator goes down, and believe me, she does for $20, a few more of her government colleagues might need to suck up as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from ABQ RAW

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading