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New Mexico businesswoman accused of fraud in federal oil and gas case

A New Mexico businesswoman is accused of defrauding the U.S. government and two Native American tribes of taxes and royalties for oil and gas her enterprises pulled from leased federal and tribal lands. 

A grand jury indicted Teresa McCown this week on several wire fraud charges and violations of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act. 

Federal prosecutors say McCown underreported oil and gas production since 2017, depriving the leaseholders of taxes and royalties. They say her companies hold more than 30 leases on land belonging to the U.S., the Navajo Nation and the Jicarilla Apache Nation.

McCown faces up to 20 years in prison and $300,000 in fines.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.