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Press Release


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

ALBUQUERQUE – William S. Harris, 58, of Albuquerque, N.M. pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit money laundering in connection with the operation of Ayudando Guardians, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Albuquerque that previously provided guardianship, conservatorship, and financial management to hundreds of people with special needs. 

Harris pleaded guilty to charges in a superseding indictment previously filed on December 5, 2017.  The superseding indictment also charged his wife, Susan K. Harris, 72, his stepson, Craig M. Young, 53, and another co-owner of the business, Sharon A. Moore, 64, with various financial crimes, including conspiracy, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.

In Harris’s plea agreement, he admitted to acting in concert with his co-defendants to cheat the United States government out of money and property from November 2006 to July 2017.  Harris admitted that he knew that Moore was siphoning payments to clients from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security Administration and using the money to benefit herself, Harris, and their co-conspirators.  Harris specifically admitted receiving, endorsing, and depositing dozens of checks drawn on Ayudando accounts for his own personal benefit. 

Harris also admitted to his involvement in a money laundering scheme.  Harris acknowledged using an Ayudando corporate credit card for personal expenses, knowing that it would be paid for with client money.  He also admitted his role in a loan application for the stated purpose of expanding the Ayudando business with the actual intent of using the money to “pay back” clients whose money they took without authorization.

The terms of Harris’s plea agreement require him to serve 84 months in prison.  He also agreed to forfeit assets and funds derived from his offenses and to pay restitution to the victims.  The other three co-defendants are scheduled to go to trial on September 23, 2019.  Charges in indictment are merely allegations and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The Albuquerque offices of the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation, which resulted in the charges in the indictment, and are leading the continuing investigation.  The Complex Assets Unit and the Albuquerque office of the USMS, the Criminal Investigations Division of the VA Office of Inspector General, and the Dallas Field Division of the SSA Office of Inspector General are assisting in the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeremy Peña and Brandon L. Fyffe are prosecuting the case.

Updated July 3, 2019

Press Release Number: 19-92