Related Stories
FARMINGTON — Bobby Willis remains on court-ordered electronic monitoring in Missouri as prosecutors interview witnesses for an eventual preliminary hearing.

Last week, Farmington Magistrate Court Judge Mark S. Hawkinson granted a motion allowing Willis to contact his attorneys weekly. Willis had been required to check in daily.

"It's a reasonable change given that the court can know where he is any time," said John W. Day, a Santa Fe attorney representing Willis.

Willis is on GPS monitoring in Branson, Mo., where he awaits trial on charges of embezzling $1.5 million from a former business partner, Mike Atchison. He is also charged with fraud, securities fraud and racketeering. His attorneys say their client did nothing wrong.

Willis is the former owner of New Mexico Title Co. and New Mexico Title Escrow Co., two businesses that shared an office building in west Farmington. The sudden closure of those businesses more than a year ago remains under investigation.

As part of a deal with Hawkinson and prosecutors, Willis was also required to hand over medical records. His attorneys say Willis has suffered several strokes and is receiving treatment for various conditions.

Willis was required to surrender his passport and notify the court and both sides' attorneys of his residence. He must also appear at any court hearings.

Willis has offered three San Juan County properties as bond:

 

  • An office building at 653 Arrington in Farmington. The 6,568 square-foot-building is assessed at $575,409.

     

  • A residence at 4275 U.S. Highway 64 in Kirtland. The 1,960-square-foot house is assessed at $172,127.

     

  • Vacant land on County Road 6496 in Kirtland.

    Court records list an address for Willis in Branson. The property is registered to Willis Gold Bar Investments Inc., according to the Taney County, Mo. assessor's office.

    Prosecutors said Monday it is unclear when Willis may be brought back to San Juan County.

    "At this point, we really don't have a time frame for the preliminary hearing," said Dustin O'Brien, chief deputy district attorney. "We're in the process of interviewing quite a few witnesses in order to prepare for that."

    The charges against Willis relate to $1.5 million Atchison had invested in a plan to build a massive hospital complex in Kirtland. Atchison eventually grew suspicious of Willis' plan but was not able to get his money back when he demanded it, according to an affidavit.

    Authorities also suspect Willis of embezzling more than $5 million in gemstones and jewelry from another business partner.

    Day said Willis sold New Mexico Title to Atchison in 2010, and any thefts happened after the sale. Day also noted the company was managed by Shannon Strunk, who was convicted Feb. 7 of stealing nearly $16,000 from a subsequent employer.

    Chuck Slothower may be contacted at cslothower@daily-times.com; 505-564-4638. Follow him on Twitter @DTChuck