Judge sentences Santa Fe builder to prison for fraud, embezzlement

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A KRQE News 13 Larry Barker investigation exposed his misdeeds. Now, a luxury home builder and former Albuquerque Public Schools teacher faces prison time.

The judge told him his case is unique. He’s not a thief who stole from strangers, he’s a thief who betrayed those who trusted him. Just before the judge handed down his sentence, William Kalinowski did something he hadn’t done. He admitted he lied and said he was sorry.

“Your honor, I am guilty. I am guilty of arrogance, failure to properly assess the consequences of my actions and failure to protect the interests of others,” Kalinowski said.

Kalinowski was convicted of fraud and embezzlement for taking money to build homes, then using the money for other projects. KRQE News 13 first told you about Kalinowski back in 2013, when state investigators said the case was closed. The case was reopened after investigative reporter Larry Barker started asking questions, and Kalinowski was later indicted and convicted.

The con man’s victims testified in court, asking the judge for a harsh sentence.

“As a result of his mishandling finances and misdiverting hundreds of thousands of dollars to projects that have nothing to do with ours, I lost everything, including my retirement and eventually had to file for bankruptcy in 2012,” said one victim.

Meanwhile, Kalinowski’s family pleaded for leniency.

“He’s a dad, he’s a husband, he’s a grandfather now…he’s an educator, he’s a mentor…he’s not perfect in any of these roles but I know he engages in each of them with integrity, passion and modesty,” said Kalinowski’s daughter.

The judge gave Kalinowski 18 years with ten suspended. He’ll also get credit for more than 1,000 days spent in jail and on house arrest.

Kalinowski was briefly a teacher at LBJ Middle School while awaiting trial on these charges.

 

 

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