Jury: Former UNM athletic director not guilty of embezzlement

[anvplayer video=”5186079″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After five hours of deliberation, a jury found a former UNM athletic director not guilty of embezzlement Friday.

Paul Krebs was accused of embezzling more than $20,000 in university funds.

The people in the courtroom who were there to support Krebs were relieved by the decision. District Court Judge Cindy Leos almost sent them out of the room because they started to clap before she finished reading the verdict.

Immediately after the judge dismissed the jury and left the room, Krebs’ family and friends didn’t hesitate to congratulate him. Krebs was emotional as he went down the line to hug each one.

“We had a lot of friends and family here,” Krebs told KOB 4. “This is a great community and we’ve made dear friends and the university’s been a part of our lives. I’m grateful for the outpouring of support and the love and thank God that things worked out and truth and justice prevailed.”

“We feel that justice was done,” said Paul Kennedy, Krebs’ attorney. “He’s a good man. It’s a shame he had to go through this process, but in the end, the system worked.”

This week, state prosecutors had the burden of proving that Krebs not only broke university policy, but the law, while handling funds for a golf trip to Scotland. The trip was part of a fundraising effort that ended up with thousands of dollars in the hole once a few participants backed out.

Prosecutors argued Krebs broke the law by using university money to fill the gap.

The trial began Monday and included testimony from university officials, including Krebs himself.

Following the verdict, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez issued this statement:

“Despite today’s verdict, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office remains committed to protecting the public interest and ensuring that public leaders hold themselves to the highest level of integrity and professionalism. We also believe this case highlights the need for the New Mexico Legislature to consider updating and clarifying our criminal statutes so that the misconduct at issue, in this case, is comprehensively addressed. While we are disappointed by the jury’s verdict, we are prepared to work with the legislature to make sure that this kind of activity is clearly and unambiguously prohibited under the law and reassure taxpayers that public resources are not used for private purposes or the interests of a privileged few.”