Trial begins for former New Mexico athletics director on embezzlement charges

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jury selection began Monday in the trial of former University of New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs on embezzlement charges.

Krebs left the university in 2017 amid questions over spending and was later indicted by a grand jury on multiple charges that stemmed from allegations that he used public money for a lavish golf trip that he said was meant to strengthen relationships with donors.

Prosecutors just weeks ago dismissed other criminal charges that were part of the 2019 indictment, saying they planned to proceed with just two counts related to embezzlement.

Krebs’ attorney, Paul Kennedy, had said previously that he was confident his client would be vindicated at trial.

State District Judge Cindy Leos set aside four days for the trial. Witnesses include Krebs’ former assistant, others who worked with the athletics department and donors who traveled to Scotland.

Krebs, 66, was accused of using university and Lobo Club funds to help pay for a trip to Scotland that included himself and family members, several prospective donors, and former UNM men’s basketball coach Craig Neal. The Lobo Club is a nonprofit fundraising organization that helps student athletes.

At the time he announced his retirement in 2017, Krebs was the longest-tenured athletic director in Mountain West Conference history. He was hired by UNM in 2006.

Prosecutors allege that the athletics department paid about $24,500 for golf tours for three people not affiliated with the university or the UNM Association. They also claim that Krebs used $13,625 in university funds to reimburse the Lobo Club for a golf tour package after Lobo Club funds were used to pay a deposit to a travel company.

The dismissed charges involve Krebs allegedly using school funds to pay his own expenses for the Scotland trip and attempts to conceal evidence related to a $25,000 donation he allegedly made anonymously to the UNM Foundation in 2017 to cover the university’s losses from the Scotland trip.

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