New Mexico's state treasurer and his predecessor were charged Friday with racketeering, accused of steering state business to investment advisers in return for hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks.
Treasurer Robert Vigil and former Treasurer Michael Montoya, both Democrats, allegedly received the kickbacks from three financial advisers who were paid commissions for helping invest public funds, according to an affidavit.
They appeared briefly in federal court Friday and were released on their own recognizance.
If convicted, both men face up to 20 years in prison for each of two counts of racketeering and interference with commerce.
Vigil said after the hearing that he would plead not guilty and planned to continue serving as treasurer.
Investment adviser Peter Simons cooperated with the FBI in exchange for immunity. He said he paid Montoya part of his commissions and personally delivered cash to Montoya three times - in amounts ranging from $4,000 to $10,000, according to an affidavit.