ALBUQUERQUE — Donald Norton, 46, of Tohatchi, pled guilty Thursday in federal court here to felony information charging him with sexually abusing a minor child.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Norton will be sentenced within the range of 15 to 25 years in prison followed by not less than five years of supervised release. Norton will be required to register as a sex offender after completing his prison sentence.
Norton was arrested on Dec. 2, 2013, on an indictment alleging that he sexually abused the victim in Dec. 2009, and from May 2010 through Aug. 2010.
During his change of plea hearing, Norton entered a guilty plea to an aggravated sexual abuse charge. In entering his guilty plea, Norton admitted sexually molesting a child in Dec. 2009. Norton committed the crime within the Navajo Indian Reservation.
Norton has been in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest and will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
Mataya to serve 2 years in prison for bankruptcy fraud conviction
ALBUQUERQUE — Michael P. Mataya, 64, of Thoreau, was sentenced Friday in federal court up to 24 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for his bankruptcy fraud conviction.
Mataya also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $265,830.00 to the victims of his offense, who were creditors of his bankrupt company.
Mataya, for more than 10 years, was a distributor of gasoline to many of the gas stations on the Navajo Reservation until his bankruptcy in 2009.
Mataya was the sole owner of Indian Capitol Distributing, Inc. (Indian Capitol), a Gallup-based oil and gas distributor, and Mataya’s Travel Plaza, a truck stop in Gallup, N.M.
He was indicted on Feb. 26, 2014, and charged with three counts of bankruptcy fraud.Ê Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment charged Mataya with making materially false statements under oath on May 5, 2009 and May 28, 2009, before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in bankruptcy proceedings involving Indian Capitol. Count 3 charged Mataya with fraudulently transferring assets belonging to Indian Capitol to Mataya’s Travel Plaza.
On Jan. 16, 2015, Mataya pled guilty to Count 2 of the indictment. According to Mataya’s plea agreement, Indian Capitol filed for bankruptcy in April 2009. At the time, the company had dozens of creditors.
After the bankruptcy court entered an order permitting Indian Capitol to use cash collateral during an emergency period on the condition that it not transfer assets to any entity owned by Mataya, Mataya provided false testimony before the court to conceal the fact that Indian Capitol was delivering fuel to Mataya’s Travel Plaza without payment in violation of the court’s order.
According to court documents, to disguise the illegal transfer of $265,380 of property from the bankruptcy estate of Indian Capitol to his other company, Mataya’s Travel Plaza, Mataya invented a company called Capitol Excavating.
Over the course of two hearings in the bankruptcy case, Mataya testified under oath that Capitol Excavating was a long-established account of Mataya’s Travel Plaza and that Capitol Excavating had turned to purchasing fuel from Indian Capitol after its bankruptcy filing.
The fiction of Capitol Excavating was exposed when one of the creditors hired an accountant and consultant to look into the financial affairs of Indian Capitol. After conducting an investigation of Capitol Excavating, the accountant and consultant testified in court that there was no company registered in either New Mexico or Colorado under the name of Capitol Excavating.
In entering his guilty plea, Mataya admitted falsely testifying because he knew that the court would not permit the transfer of fuel from Indian Capitol to Mataya’s Travel Plaza. He also admitted falsifying invoices and bills of lading to conceal this unlawful transfer of assets.
He acknowledged that the total value of the fuel unlawfully transferred to Mataya’s Travel Plaza was $265,830.00.
Mexican Springs resident beats man to death, gets two years
ALBUQUERQUE — Berland Thomas, 44, who resides in Mexican Springs, N.M., was sentenced Tuesday in federal court here to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his involuntary manslaughter conviction.
Thomas was arrested on June 9, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with murder. According to the complaint, Thomas allegedly killed a Navajo man by beating him with his fists during an alcohol-fueled fight.
Thomas was subsequently indicted on June 24, 2014, and charged with second-degree murder.
On Feb. 20, Thomas pled guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge and admitted assaulting the victim by striking, beating and wounding him. Thomas acknowledged that the victim died as a result of injuries suffered during the assault.
Homicide in Chilchenbito
WINDOW ROCK – Navajo police and the FBI are investigating a homicide that occurred recently in Chilchinbeto.
The victim has been identified as Rylan Clitso, age unknown. He is a resident of Chilchenbeto.
According to the Navajo police report, his body was found buried in the back yard of a house in Chilchenbeto. No other details were made available but police said foul play is suspected.
Three stabbed in Inscription House
WINDOW ROCK – Navajo police reported that three men were stabbed on June 6 near Inscription House on Navajo Route 16.
The victims were indentified as Frances Clyde Goodman Jr., no age given; Rhyan Tsiniginnie, 27 and B. Manheimer, no age given. All three are residences of Inscription House.
Police received a call saying that there was a man laying on the road. When police arrived on the scene, they found a man on the road with a laceration to his shoulder. Two of the victims were flown to Flagstaff while the third one was taken to the Tuba City Regional Hospital.
No arrests have been made. The Kayenta CID is investigating.
Tornado sighting near Dennehotso
WINDOW ROCK – Navajo Police began receiving reports on June 6 from people east of the Dennehotso area about the sighting of a possible tornado.
Within the next day, more reports came in to the Shiprock police headquarters about tornado sightings from people in the area south of Bluff, Utah near Navajo Route 191.
There wee so many calls that the Shiprock substation as well as the one in Kayenta sent a couple of units to the area to conduct a welfare cheek. No injuries or property damage was reported.
Some people that the police talked to said they saw the tornado touch down about 6 p.m. on June 6, Police said some elders in the area also reported that a tornado touched down in that vicinity in the 1950s.