ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A now former New Mexico Fire Chief, Eddy Fabela, is accused of stealing taxpayer money. He is accused using city credit cards to run up thousands of dollars of charges for things like gas, boots, and sunglasses for his personal use. 

The mayor of Eunice says he was disappointed to learn that their former fire chief was making unauthorized transactions using the fire department credit card. “I was shocked. I’ve been just looking at things and everything, so it’s just, you know, was a pretty good shock for me, for me and not only me but for the rest of the community,” says Mayor Hobbs. 

The criminal complaint states Fabela used city credit cards to fuel personal cars, including his wife and daughter’s cars. The charges claim this started in 2017 until early this year. Court documents say it didn’t stop with fuel. He is accused of making other fraudulent charges, including buying ostrich cowboy boots, high-end sunglasses, and even bought a laptop.  

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“I hate that. I hate that it happened and everything else and everything, but you know, we got to, we got to do what we got to do for the city to maintain that, you know, the way we run business and everything,” says Mayor Hobbs. 

According to court documents, Fabela has had money problems in the past. In 2019, Fabela and his wife were both summoned for failing to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills at Lea Regional Hospital, leading to wages needing to be garnished. Court documents also show that Fabela had problems repaying a loan that also led to his wages being garnished from the fire department. 

Mayor Hobbs says he hopes something like this never happens again. “I mean, things going to happen, you know, no matter what you do, you can take the best precautions there is but things, things still happen. So we’re gonna do what we can to help prevent it and in the future, and have more accountability down the road for everybody,” says Mayor Hobbs. 

Fabela was fire chief for ten years before these allegations came up. No word on when Fabela left the department and if he quit or was fired. Court records show there is a warrant out for Eddy Fabela’s arrest. In total, the criminal complaint tracked nearly seven thousand dollars in fraudulent gas charges.