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UNM Law School Student Group Under Investigation for Unsanctioned Bank Account
A criminal investigation has been opened up against a law school student group from the University of New Mexico, according to The Albuquerque Journal. The investigation originally began as an internal audit by the school.
The audit was looking into an unauthorized bank account held off-campus. Thousands of dollars were spent on liquor store purchases, bar visits and restaurant tabs.
The internal auditor was completed by the UNM Internal Audit Department and their evidence was sent to the police of the university and the state auditor.
Dianne Anderson, a spokeswoman for the school, said that the investigation warrants a criminal investigation because of expenses by a 2012-2013 officer for the Student Bar Association.
The investigation has revealed that at least one student bar officer used the money from the unauthorized account to purchase liquor at bars, stores, and restaurants.
The evidence found in the investigation also revealed multiple withdrawals of cash. The account has money in it that was paid by student fees and also university funds. The withdrawals occurred from April of 2012 to April of 2013.
State Auditor Hector Balderas was notified by the school of the investigation. The chief of Balderas’ staff, Evan Blackstone, said, “UNM has also assured us that they will keep us informed of the results of any criminal investigations.”
A memo written in the fall by the assistant dean for student services, Bonnie Stepleton, said that groups on campus that collect funds must deposit that money in an account created by the university controller.
“This was not a UNM-sanctioned account,” Anderson said. “It was an off-campus account under the Student Bar Association that we didn’t know about.”
An email was sent to the Law School’s students by the current SBA president, Daniel Apodaca. Apodaca noted the steps the group was taking to increase accountability.
“No member of the current SBA Board is suspected of malfeasance in this matter or had any insight as to the actions of the former Board member,” he said in the email. “The current Board is making every effort to provide transparency with this issue and is making strides to make sure that this sort of issue never happens again.”UNM Law School Student Group Under Investigation for Unsanctioned Bank Account by Jim Vassallo