New Mexico

Former UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs charged with fraud, money laundering

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Criminal charges have been filed against the University of New Mexico's former athletic director Paul Krebs. He faces five felonies including money laundering and fraud. 

This was all sparked by two Larry Barker investigations. Now, the former Athletic Director is accused of cooking the books and creative accounting to fund a lavish international trip on the university's dime. 

KRQE News 13 knocked on his door Wednesday but his family wasn't answering questions. 

It was an explosive Larry Barker report two years ago that revealed Krebs' misuse of public funds including fronting university money to pay for the now-infamous lavish golf trip to Scotland for himself, his family, another coach and private citizens. 

The criminal complaint says he listed the trip as an out-of-state expense instead of international, to avoid having to get approval from the university president. The complaint states he then tried to cover up the hefty spending by anonymously donating $25,000 to the UNM Foundation in May 2017, emailing instructions to his wife to hide the source of the donation. 

The president of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico (ASUNM) says it's disappointing there was no oversight of this spending. 

"Now we're focusing on forward thinking, and I think that these changes can be put behind us so that we can focus on the wonderful things about this university," ASUNM President Becka Myers said. 

Krebs is also charged with tampering with evidence because investigators say once people started asking questions, Krebs destroyed electronic documents and tried to interfere with the release of public records.

"This case is about protecting public funds for higher education institutions and we look forward to transparently bringing this case forward. This is an important matter," Attorney General Hector Balderas said about the investigation.

Krebs resigned from the position in Spring 2017.

Records show Krebs was making $400,000 a year as athletic director. In total, his charges carry a possible sentence of up to 15 years.  UNM on Wednesday said there was no wrongdoing on the university's part and that it will continue to cooperate with the investigation.

The attorney general said, not so fast.

"Their lack of record keeping also created an environment that was easy to commit crimes," Balderas said. 

The AG also released a report regarding UNM's "Financial Risk Areas." In it, the AG goes into lack of oversight when it comes to the PIT suites and accuses Krebs of providing "tickets to donors without seeking payment."

However, Balderas said those allegations can't be confirmed because of sloppy book keeping.

"My call to the University of New Mexico is that they start treating the athletic facilities, more importantly the suites, like any other classroom and properly account for these resources and these assets," Balderas said.  "These are assets that the students own."

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, formerly the state auditor, launched an audit back in 2017 of the athletics department's lack of a checks and balances system.

His office released the following statement Wednesday:

“When we were at the State Auditor's office, our audit of UNM athletics found a financial management structure that was a tangled web of problematic transactions and outlined a roadmap to improve financial oversight. Today shines a bright light on examples of these findings, and is a reminder that the recommendations in that audit should be implemented to prevent this from happening in the future. UNM is a critical institution in our city and we'll continue to support their efforts to get things cleaned up under new leadership.”—Mayor Tim Keller

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