ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque High School basketball coach, Ron Garcia recently announced his retirement. News 13 has learned Garcia was placed on administrative leave in May and there’s an active embezzlement investigation to see if Garcia misspent money meant for his team.
He’s been coaching in New Mexico for 46 years, spending the past 15 as head coach of the Bulldogs, at Albuquerque High. In May, Albuquerque Public School police began investigating Garcia for embezzlement. According to the investigation, the Albuquerque High School Alumni Association donated more than $3,000 to be spent on basketball shoes for players on varsity, junior varsity and the freshman team.
The association later learned, after talking to a player’s relative, Garcia also asked parents for $80 donations for the shoes. The investigation says Garcia admitted to buying t-shirts with the donated funds from players. Those shirts, however, were not given to the players who paid for them, instead, they were handed out to team supporters.
News 13 spoke with a mom who paid the $80 for her son’s shoes, she did not want to be interviewed but says she’s disappointed Garcia would take advantage of the kids he coached. She says she’s glad to see him leave the team.
Police say Garcia never deposited the players’ donations into the activity fund and did not submit a purchase order before spending the shoe money on t-shirts for supporters. They also believe he spent some of the money on shoes for non-players, including his grandson.
The treasurer of the Alumni Association says Garcia did pay the money back and they do not want Garcia charged but that will be up to the District Attorney’s office to decide.
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