Copyright 2018 Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)
The New Mexico Attorney General's Office this week seized the financial records of former University of New Mexico Athletic Director Paul Krebs, looking for possible evidence of money laundering, fraud and embezzlement, newly released documents show.
Attorney General Hector Balderas' office served a search warrant on a credit card company used by Krebs in an attempt to further confirm the former administrator himself made a $25,000 donation to cover the losses UNM sustained on the now-infamous 2015 Scotland fundraising golf trip, a search warrant affidavit shows.
But Krebs' attorney, Gene Gallegos, confirmed to the Journal late Tuesday that Krebs had made the donation and he would have turned over the credit card proof if the Attorney General's Office had asked for it.
The Attorney General's Office did not specifically respond to questions late Tuesday about whether it had asked Krebs or his attorney about the donation, with a spokesman citing the investigation.
The seizure comes after the AG's office found evidence that Krebs was the donor during a search of the UNM Foundation last month.
A UNM Foundation official identified Krebs as the donor and the AG's Office obtained a donation receipt that shows Krebs' name and the last four digits of a credit card number.
"I would like to see the certified Chase credit card records and complete card information in order to further assist in positively identifying the source of the donated funds and also assist in positively identifying donor Paul Krebs and further investigate possible violations of the State of New Mexico Government Conduct Act ... which requires all public officials to conduct themselves in an ethical manner in advancement of the public trust as well as other crimes," including violations of the state's money laundering, fraud and embezzlement statutes, AG Special Agent Antonio Vargas wrote in the search warrant signed on Sept. 24 and fulfilled by Chase Bank this week.
Balderas last year launched an investigation into UNM after media discovered the university used nearly $25,000 in public money to pay some private donor expenses on the Scotland trip.
In the wake of the media coverage, Krebs in May 2017 announced an anonymous donor had given $25,000 to help repay UNM.
UNM has never publicly revealed the source of the donation despite repeated questions from investigators and media, including the Journal.
But the search warrant says emails between Krebs and his wife, Marjori, a UNM employee, strongly suggest the donation "appears to be an attempt to cover up" violations Krebs committed in authorizing the trip.
In one message, Krebs provided Marjori the text of an anonymous letter explaining the donation that he wanted her to print and hand-deliver to the UNM Foundation's Vice President for Development, Larry Ryan. He told her it should have "no name, return address or anything associated with us on the letter or envelope."
Multiple high-ranking officials at the foundation have withheld the donor's identity from Balderas' investigators.
Ryan acknowledged taking the donation, but would not say who made it.
Foundation General Counsel Pat Allen, meanwhile, provided the AG's Office with a credit card transaction for the gift, but the name was redacted, the affidavit states.
The foundation officials' conflicting stories about the donation helped prompt AG's special agents to execute a search warrant on the foundation's Albuquerque headquarters on Sept. 5.
The new search warrant for Krebs' bank records said last month's search revealed "a Paul Krebs" made the $25,000 donation.
The warrant says Annette Hazen, listed on the UNM foundation website as an associate vice president for development, told investigators that Ryan contacted her one evening to say Krebs wanted to make a $25,000 donation. He provided her with Krebs' credit card information to process it, which she did the next day.
Hazen said she also completed a donation acknowledgment letter for Paul Krebs for tax purposes, according to the affidavit.
In addition, a donation receipt "had the name Paul Krebs listed on it along with the credit/debit card type (Visa), last four digits of the card number, but no other identifying information."
According to the affidavit, the foundation sent the $25,000 donation to the University of New Mexico Athletics Department, where it was "placed in a contingency index controlled by the Vice President of Athletics, Paul Krebs."
Balderas said in a written statement that his office "will continue our highly active investigation into financial transactions at UNM. We will provide the public with updates as we are able."
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