Former candidate for sheriff investigated for fraud

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A San Juan County Sheriff's Office official said detectives are investigating new claims of fraud against Daniel Goldberg Sr., who ran for sheriff in 2014.

Detective Lt. Kyle Lincoln said his office has received several complaints since Goldberg's arrest on accusations he extorted money from a woman who secured a surety bond through Goldberg Bail Bond in September.

Goldberg, who was charged July 24 in Aztec Magistrate Court with two counts of fourth-degree felony fraud, claims the sheriff's investigation is an attempt to discredit him.

Goldberg filed a defamation lawsuit against Sheriff Ken Christesen and other employees of the San Juan County Sheriff's Office less than two weeks after losing to Christesen in the Republican primary race for sheriff in spring 2014.

Lincoln further added that his office is investigating whether Goldberg, 55, has been operating as a bail bondsman without a state license.

According to the Office of Superintendent of Insurance's website, Goldberg's license to post surety bail bonds was cancelled in February 2007.

Goldberg admitted Friday in an interview that he was not licensed to serve as a bail bondsman in the state of New Mexico, but claims he operates exclusively as a fugitive recovery agent through his company, New Mexico Fugitive Apprehension Bureau, which is not a state agency.

Goldberg said his son, Daniel Goldberg Jr., posts surety bonds as the bail bondsman.

According to state records, Goldberg Jr. has been licensed as a bail bondsman since April 2011.

Goldberg Sr. was previously charged in November 1990 in Broward County, Fla. with violating the state's bail bondsman laws by acting as a bail bondsman while also employed by a law enforcement agency, a felony offense, according to The Daily Times archives.

According to court records, Goldberg Sr. failed to make a court appearance in that case in April 1991 and was arrested on a warrant.

He was jailed for 83 days and eventually pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor offense on July 12, 1991.

The judge sentenced him to time served.

Goldberg Sr. was charged again in Broward County in September 1992 on two counts of tax evasion, one of which was a third-degree felony, according to The Daily Times archives.

He pleaded guilty in August 1993 to a misdemeanor offense and was ordered to pay $105, according to court records.

Goldberg Sr. declined to comment on his convictions in Florida.

Goldberg was again charged in Broward County in April 1994 of violating the state's bail bondsman laws, but was acquitted of the offense by a judge after a non-jury trial in October of that same year.

Goldberg Sr. was later convicted of a third "indictable" offense — unlawful possession of a handgun — in New Jersey's Essex County in June 1994, according to court records, and was sentenced to 8 days in jail and one year probation.

In New Jersey, crimes are not categorized as felony and misdemeanor, but instead as indictable, disorderly person offenses and petty disorderly person offenses. An indictable offense is the most serious offense in the state.

Goldberg Sr. said he was arrested because he did not have a gun permit in New Jersey at the time. He said he did have a gun permit in Florida and was also a licensed federal firearms dealer at the time.

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said that despite the elder Goldberg's conviction in New Jersey, he was not prohibited from owning a firearm under New Mexico's laws governing the rights of convicted felons.

O'Brien said that, in New Mexico, a convicted felon can possess a firearm if they completed their sentence more than 10 years ago.

Goldberg Sr. said that, under the terms of his plea agreement on the indictable offense, he retained his right to own firearms.

Goldberg Sr. is expected to appear in Aztec Magistrate Court on Aug. 13 for a preliminary examination hearing, according to court records.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.