Reports suggest more than $58,000 taken from Papen

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Amended campaign finance reports filed by Senate President pro tem Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, indicate the amount of money allegedly stolen from her Senate campaign account and her political action committee.

The amended reports list 88 new expenditures totaling $50,376 from her Senate account, and eight for $8,300 from her Senate PAC account, according to an analysis by New Mexico in Depth from amended campaign filings. Under the contribution description line on the campaign finance form she lists “embezzlement.” Under the contributor line she lists Stephen Siddall, her longtime assistant who has been indicted in a different case involving City Council member Greg Smith, who is Papen’s son-in-law.

Records show that Papen transferred $2,700 from her PAC to her Senate account and $1,350 of her own money to cover overdrafts.

Papen told the Sun-News in November that an investigation was underway into missing funds taken from her Senate and campaign accounts, as well as personal items taken from her Las Cruces home. She said she learned of the alleged embezzlement through a separate investigation into the misuse of Smith’s credit card.

Papen said at that time that she was working with an attorney and an accountant to determine how much money was taken. She also alerted the attorney general’s office and informed the Secretary of State’s Office of her need to amend her campaign filing reports.

Papen said at that time she suspected Siddall, who had been her assistant for about 14 years and lived at her home in Las Cruces, as being responsible. Siddall had also worked as her campaign treasurer at one time, Papen said. She described him as “like a member of the family.”

Siddall was arrested in November by police in Roswell on an arrest warrant filed by Doña Ana County Magistrate Court, related to the alleged misuse of Smith’s credit card. Last month he was indicted on charges of fraudulent use of a credit card (more than $500) and five counts of fraudulent signing of credit cards or sales slips, all fourth-degree felonies.

The investigation into the alleged theft of Papen’s campaign funds is continuing.

“We are aggressively moving forward with the investigation, but it’s not totally complete yet,” she told the Las Cruces Sun-News on Wednesday.

The Las Cruces Sun-News contributed to this report.

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