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SANTA FE — A judge has tossed out a whistleblower lawsuit seeking to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for the state because of alleged fraud and a “pay-to-play” scheme involving public investments.
In a decision issued Wednesday, District Judge Stephen Pfeffer invalidated portions of a law that allows citizens to bring lawsuits on behalf of the state to recover triple damages.
The judge said it’s unconstitutional to apply the law and its sanctions to activities that took place before the statute went into effect in July 2007.
At issue was a lawsuit brought by Frank Foy, a former investment officer for a state educational pension fund, who alleged a scheme in which political contributions to Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson influenced the awarding of investment business. Richardson was never named as a defendant.
The state attorney general’s office and an Albuquerque lawyer handling the case said Thursday that no decision had been made on whether to appeal the ruling or take other legal steps.
“We are analyzing the judge’s ruling and its implications on the law that could impact this and other cases in the near future. We do expect that the appellate courts will have to weigh in at some point,” said Phil Sisneros, a spokesman for Democratic Attorney General Gary King.
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