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Land Grant Trustee Pleads Guilty to Fraud

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A member of the Arroyo Hondo Land Grant Board of Trustees pleaded guilty Monday to one count of fraud as part of a plea deal struck on the morning of his trial, The Taos News reported.

Lawrence Ortiz was facing charges of forgery and attempted fraud in connection with a deed filed in 2010 laying claim to the entire Arroyo Hondo land grant north of Taos in the name of the grant’s original settlers, The News said.

The deed has stalled several real estate transactions within the grant by clouding title to all properties, according to The News.

District Attorney Donald Gallegos told the paper that Ortiz agreed to plead guilty to one count of misdemeanor fraud in a “last-minute” plea agreement, and Ortiz could get up to 364 days in jail and a $1,000 fine at sentencing.

“Accountability is all we were really looking for,” Gallegos told The News.

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