SANTA FE (AP) — Former Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano wants to make poker chip trays and use revenue from the business to repay $25,000 for illegally selling county owned property.
Solano is trying to turn his woodworking hobby into a cash-cow and has turned to an online micro-financing website to raise money for the venture.
Solano, 48, resigned in November 2010 after he was caught selling bullet-proof vests, gun holsters and office supplies online and pocketing the cash. He pleaded guilty last year to five counts of felony fraud as part of a deal to reduce his sentence. He served six weeks in jail.
"I'm trying to just do everything right and pay back the restitution that is required of me," Solano told the Santa Fe New Mexican (
http://bit.ly/ObNQfl) in a story published Thursday. "I'm trying to go back to some sense of normalcy with my family, life and everything."
Solano has been a woodworker for about six years and recently began selling handmade clocks and religious pieces through Facebook.
"I think it is a good way to get into a niche market," Solano said of his fundraising efforts.
He said he had heard of a man who launched a series of artisan dice products and got more than $90,000 in pledges on the financing website.
Solano posted a promotional video on the site that says the chip tray comes in pine or oak. He explains that he first made the tray for poker-playing friends who used pieces of candy instead of poker chips.
Solano is no stranger to poker, although he dismissed what he called "overblown" efforts by a prosecutor in his fraud case to portray him as a habitual gambler. He said during an August 2011 court hearing that he hadn't gambled at all that year, and the last time he remembered playing poker was a $50 game at a friend's house the previous December.
Another Solano hobby is writing. He said he has nearly finished a novel and might try to generate support for its publication through the financing site.
Titled "Badge Bunnies," the novel is about women who fall in love with law-enforcement officers, Solano said.
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