SANTA FE – The publisher of Santa Fe’s Trend Magazine pleaded not guilty Friday to 48 counts of gross receipts tax evasion over a four-year-period.
Though the state asked for Cynthia Canyon to held on a $10,000 signature bond, state District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer said Canyon could be released her own recognizance without monetary conditions, citing Canyon’s lack of any criminal history.
Canyon appeared without an attorney, saying she was not able to afford one and had not yet been assigned a public defender. She added that she attempted to hire two attorneys before the hearing but was unable to cover their retainer fees.
“I don’t think I should be incarcerated,” Canyon told the judge. Later Friday afternoon, Canyon posted a video on Facebook saying she’s planning an event with musicians and artists to raise money for legal fees and already has some donated art.
On the video, Canyon said she will continue publishing the quarterly magazine and has an interested investor. She said going to the arraignment without a lawyer was “very scary.”
Marlowe Sommer had to stop Canyon from discussing the case after Canyon asked to negotiate a deal with the District Attorney’s Office that would include restitution to the state Taxation and Revenue Department. The judge said the arraignment hearing was only for setting bond and discussing other possible pre-trial conditions.
Canyon’s recent indictment said she owed $1.5 million in taxes, but that was a “typographical error,” said prosecutor Ben Gubernick. The indictment instead likely listed amounts of revenue she owed taxes on over the four-year period, he said. Gubernick didn’t provide a corrected amount Canyon is accused of evading, but under the gross receipts tax rate for Santa Fe, she would owe about $125,000 on $1.5 million in revenue.
If convicted on all counts, which are fourth-degree felonies, she could face up to 72 years in prison. Gubernick referred to it as “essentially a life sentence.”
She will return to court for her pre-trial conference Oct. 19. Marlowe Sommer said she better have an attorney by then. “I don’t want to see you at the pre-trial conference without one,” the judge told Canyon.