SANTA FE ― New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller released an investigation into possible theft by an employee of New Mexico’s Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC).
The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) found that $18,225 of public money was diverted into the personal bank accounts of the former Center for Self-Advocacy Program Director. The former Director appears to have taken funds intended to pay people with disabilities for training classes and instead deposited the payments into his own bank accounts for personal use.
“People with developmental disabilities and their families depend on the Development Disabilities Planning Council for vital services to improve quality of life,” Keller said. “It is unconscionable that any staff would apparently steal money from the disability programs they are charged with administrating. We appreciate the Council for bringing these concerns forward and for working to address oversight issues that came to light.”
The DDPC notified the OSA about concerns it had involving training payments. The OSA reviewed over 400 checks issued to training participants between 2013 and 2016. The OSA subpoenaed the former Director’s bank and determined that at least 200 of these checks, totaling $18,225, were deposited into the former Director’s personal accounts.
“Based on likely criminal violations including embezzlement, we have referred our findings to the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution,” stated Keller.
The OSA also recommended a number of corrective actions to strengthen DDPC’s internal controls. The DDPC is a state agency with the mission to promote advocacy, capacity building, and systemic change to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.