Krebs arraigned, accused of misusing UNM funds

Paul Krebs. Susan Montoya Bryan/Associated Press file photo

ALBUQUERQUE — Former University of New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs was indicted on seven felony counts by a grand jury Wednesday over his role in an ill-fated 2015 fundraising trip to Scotland for boosters and school officials.

Charges against Krebs include embezzlement, larceny and tampering with evidence. If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 22½ years in jail and a maximum of $40,000 in fines.

Krebs’ attorney, Paul Kennedy, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Krebs resigned under pressure from UNM in 2017 after an investigation revealed he had attempted to cover up his involvement in using the university funds to pay for part of the lavish Scotland trip, which he hoped to use as a means to generate financial donations for the athletic department.

When he was unable to fill eight spots from would-be donors, he used public money to cover the cost of taking at least three non-UNM employees on the trip, according to a criminal complaint filed in February by the Attorney General’s Office.

Krebs was scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Monday in 2nd Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, where a judge would determine probable cause after hearing evidence in the case.

“A citizen grand jury in a court of law determined that there was sufficient evidence that criminal charges should be filed,” said Matt Baca, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Coffing is the lead prosecutor in the case. He was not available for comment Wednesday. Baca said Krebs will be arraigned on a date to be determined.

The seven-count indictment against Krebs, 63, includes a charge of embezzlement in excess of $20,000, a second-degree felony.

Krebs is accused of paying approximately $24,500 of the university’s money to cover the expenses of three non-UNM employees with the intent of fraudulently depriving the school of its funds, then using an additional $13,625 to pay the Lobo Club for a down payment to the travel agency hired to organized the trip and another $9,379 to pay for his own expenses.

A charge of evidence tampering alleges Krebs destroyed documents and deleted emails in 2017 related to a so-called anonymous donation to cover a portion of the trip’s expenses. It was found during the course of the investigation that Krebs was the anonymous donor and that he had directed his wife, university employee Marjori Krebs, to deliver the funds to the UNM Foundation, then delete emails of their correspondence in an attempt to mislead investigators.

Krebs also faces a third-degree felony count of tax fraud.

Paul Krebs came under scrutiny when details of the Scotland trip, first reported by KRQE-TV, surfaced. The trip drew the attention of the State Auditor’s Office, which found the Athletics Department had misused public and donor funds and had no accountability for financial practices. It also identified a “problematic circular flow of money” between the Athletics Department, the Lobo Club and the UNM Foundation.

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