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Press Release

El Prado Man Pleads Guilty to Charges in Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, the Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of Inspector General, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General announced today that Jeffrey Ham pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Ham, 46, of El Prado, NM, will remain on conditions of release pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

According to the plea agreement and court documents, Ham owned Timberline Environmental, LLC, an environmental restoration company. . Ham’s co-defendant James Matison, 57, of Boulder, CO, worked as a Program Director at WildEarth Guardians, a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to protect and restore wildlife, natural resources, and ecosystems of the American west. WildEarth Guardians relies on funding primarily through grants that it receives either directly from federal agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), or indirectly via the State of New Mexico or other not-for-profit organizations. Between February 2015 and April 2019, Ham conspired with Matison to inflate hours billed to WildEarth Guardians by Timberline Environmental, LLC and to pass the excess funds to Matison. All told, Matison and Ham diverted more than $240,000 from WildEarth Guardians.

At sentencing, Ham faces up to 20 years in prison.

The Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General and the Department of the Interior Office of Inspector General investigated this case which is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy Peña.

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Updated July 20, 2023

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-156