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Statement from WildEarth Guardians’ Board on Former Staffer Caught Embezzling

Date
May 13, 2019
Contact
Peter Schoenburg, Board Treasurer, 505-250-5616
In This Release
 
Santa Fe, NM – Yesterday WildEarth Guardians transmitted to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Albuquerque a forensic auditor’s report which found evidence that the organization’s former restoration program director colluded with an outside contractor to overbill WildEarth Guardians and defraud the United States Government and the State of New Mexico. WildEarth Guardians is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s office and has asked its auditors to cooperate in the forthcoming criminal investigation. The audit, completed by the McHard Firm of Albuquerque, found that the organization’s former staff member “participated in a felony fraud scheme with [a] WildEarth Guardians vendor” to steal a significant amount of money.

In response WildEarth Guardians’ Board issued the following statement:

Upon the recent receipt of credible, detailed allegations of the mismanagement of restoration grant monies, the Board, together with the Executive Director, initiated an investigation by an outside forensic accounting firm.

Significant, documented evidence of a pattern of ongoing diversion of monies in connection with these government grants by a single staffer came to light. The person involved has been fired. The organization made a referral to law enforcement and will seek restitution of all the diverted monies as aggressively as possible.

In the meantime, the board will work with the outside forensic accounting firm to immediately put in place more comprehensive and stringent accounting controls to ensure this never happens again. Our commitment to the aims of WildEarth Guardians remains undiminished.

We appreciate the community’s ongoing support of WildEarth Guardians as we work through these unfortunate circumstances.

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