SANTA FE (KRQE) - State investigators executed a search warrant at the New Mexico Finance Authority's Santa Fe office Wednesday nigh, looking for bank records, accounting records and computers.
It's all part of an investigation into a fake audit for the 2011 fiscal year submitted by a former NMFA controller to help attract bond investors.
Now that investigation has grown to encompass the NMFA's entire organization including looking at whether any taxpayer money has been embezzled, misspent or is missing.
"This was such an appalling act in terms of submitting a fraudulent audit report that at this point we have to verify every aspect of this institution's operation before we can sign off on their true financial health," State Auditor Hector Balderas told KRQE News 13 Thursday. "I'm very concerned that the motivations [behind the fake audit] may have been in effort to hurt or harm taxpayers."
The NMFA is the go-to place for New Mexico cities, counties and school districts when they're looking for low-cost loans. The authority then shops those loans to bond investors.
While the investigation continues, the NMFA is unable to issue bonds and is very limited in how much it can lend out. A bond package set to be sold in September has been indefinitely delayed.
In a statement, state Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent J. Dee Dennis Jr. said the search warrant was necessary to preserve evidence. But added that the NMFA was cooperating with the investigation.
However, sources have told News 13 that the NMFA has not been moving as quickly as investigators would like.
The NMFA board has called a special meeting for Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the state Capitol. It's expected the board will choose an outside firm to check on the NMFA's finances.
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