State Auditor Brian Colón
ALBUQUERQUE — State Auditor Brian Colón announced the results of a fraud examination identifying nearly $16,000 from the Metropolitan Detention Center in misappropriated Inmate Trust Account.
The forensic audit performed by an Independent Public Accountant (IPA) identified a significant breakdown of internal controls that resulted in possible embezzlement and fraud through the issuance of debit cards and use of misappropriated inmate funds that appear to have been converted.
“Incarcerated individuals have families and friends who contribute to these funds. Theft is theft. This is not a victimless crime,” Auditor Colón said. “Stealing from inmates is not excusable behavior. Dehumanizing incarcerated people by stealing what belongs to them while in custody is a violation of trust and shows a deep lack of integrity and compassion.”
The forensic audit was reviewed with Bernalillo County officials who provided responses to the findings identified and immediately introduced corrective action measures.
“Failure to maintain proper controls allowed for this gross abuse of power. I’m pleased that Bernalillo County is taking action to fill the gaps in their internal controls so this cannot happen again. Any individual who has funds in trust deserves to have the funds held with the utmost care,” Auditor Colón said.
New Mexicans concerned about potential instances of waste, fraud, and abuse should contact the Office of the State Auditor. Reports may be made anonymously at www.saonm.org, by calling 1-866-OSA-FRAUD or speaking to an investigator by calling 505.476.3800.