A former campaign manager for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of computer intrusion and making a false statement.
Jamie Estrada, 40, of Los Lunas, New Mexico, is accused of using his access to the campaign’s domain to intercept communications and lying to federal agents when questioned about the incident.
According to the indictment, Estrada was given access to the susana2010.com domain as part of his role as campaign manager during Governor Martinez’s run for office. At the time, Governor Martinez was then the District Attorney in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. The domain itself would later become a critical communication tool as the election season came to a head, and after the election was over for Governor Martinez and her staff.
However according to the indictment, on or around July 18, 2011, the governor and her staff noticed that emails sent to their accounts on the domain were bouncing back to the sender. It was discovered that the domain itself had expired, and since the domain was critical for communication between the governor and her staff, as well as political supporters and the media, re-registering the domain with GoDaddy.com became a top priority.
But a problem arose – no one could recall the domain’s username and password needed to re-register the domain. When the administration contacted Estrada – who had left the campaign in 2009 – and asked for his access information, he refused to comply. However, on or about July 29, 2011, authorities allege that Estrada logged onto GoDaddy.com and created a new customer profile under the alias “Sylvia Tacori.” Using the username and password associated with the domain, Estrada then allegedly used a prepaid gift card to renew the domain and began forwarding email messages to a Google email account he controlled.
“As a result, between late July 2011 and June 2012, Estrada allegedly received e-mail communications intended for recipients, including Governor Martinez and members of her staff, who had e-mail accounts associated with the [re-registered] domain,” a statement from the Department of Justice, citing the indictment itself, explains.
“Counts 13 and 14 charge Estrada with making false statements to the FBI in September 2012, in which he allegedly denied taking certain actions to unlawfully intercept wire communications as charged in counts one through 12 of the indictment.”
Estrada’s arraignment hearing has yet to be scheduled.