You are on page 1of 2

STATE OF NEW MEXICO

PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT


300 DON GASPAR
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO 87501-2786
Telephone (505) 827-5800
www.ped.state.nm.us
HANNA SKANDERA

SUSANA MARTINEZ

SECRETARY OF EDUCATION

Chris Garner, Partner


Axiom Certified Public Accountants
316 Osuna Rd. NE Ste. 401
Albuquerque, NM 87107
Mr. Garner,
While reviewing requests for reimbursement for the K3Plus program, our fiscal grants
management team identified a concerning invoice submitted by La Promesa Charter School.
The invoice appears to have been altered. PED Audit Bureau staff visited La Promesa to follow
up on the matter on January 29, 2016. During the visit, the PED Audit Bureau staff inquired into
various reimbursements to administrative staff at La Promesa. Focusing on the invoice that
appeared to be altered, Dr. Analee Maestas stated that the invoice was for carpet cleaning done
at a casita used by La Promesa behind its location at 5201 Central Ave SW. Dr. Maestas took
PED Audit Bureau staff to the location and showed them the casita. While it appears that La
Promesa uses this casita, it does not appear that the vendor, Clean Carpet Care, did any work at
this site. When called, Clean Carpet Care indicated that the work related to the invoice was done
at 2213 Cordova, which appears to be Dr. Maestas's personal residence. In addition, one of the
technicians who performed the work confirmed that the work was done at 2213 Cordova, and
confirmed that the only work performed was duct cleaning. While Clean Carpet Care would not
provide PED with a copy of the invoice, Clean Carpet Care confirmed that its copy of the
invoice contains different information than the copy in the school's files. Because the invoice is
made using carbonless copy paper, it appears that the invoice was altered before it was
submitted to the school for reimbursement. The alterations are apparent from a color copy of the
invoice. The invoice appears to have been altered by adding "La Promesa CS" above Dr.
Maestas's name. It also appears that the address 5201 Central SW was written over 2213
Cordova SW. In the matrix on the right hand side of the invoice, it appears that checks were
added to dining room, kitchen, stairs, bedroom 1, and bedroom 2. I have enclosed the relevant
documents. It is also concerning that Dr. Maestas approved the purchase requisition for this
transaction. At a minimum this suggests a lack of internal controls at the school and may
warrant additional test work.

GOVERNOR

Notification of potential fraud pursuant to NMAC 2.2.2.10(K)


February 24, 2016
Page 2 of 2

Pursuant to New Mexico Statute Section 22-8-42(D): "Any person falsifying any record,
account or report required to be kept or filed pursuant to the Public School Finance Act or
knowingly using any money budgeted or appropriated for public school use or for any other
purposes than that provided in the appropriation or budget is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and
shall, in addition to all other civil or criminal penalties, forfeit his office or employment." In
addition, "[a]ny person violating any provision of the Public School Finance Act is guilty of a
petty misdemeanor." NMSA 1978, 22-8-42(A). PED is notifying you of this incident pursuant
to NMAC 2.2.2.10(K), and we expect that you will notify the Office of State Auditor
accordingly.
The Department takes any potential misuse or waste of public schools funds seriously and is
very concerned by what appears to have taken place here. If indeed Dr. Maestas altered the
invoice and was reimbursed by La Promesa for personal expenses it is an extreme abuse of her
position. It is essential that public school funds are used to educate our state's children, and are
not being diverted to pay for personal expenses of administrators. If true, what appears to have
occurred here is a grave breach of the public's trustthe conditions that allowed this to happen
must be identified so that we can ensure similar abuses are not going unchecked at other schools
and school districts.
I would like to schedule a meeting to discuss this issue as soon as possible, please advise your
availability. Should you have any questions, please give me a call.
Best regards,

Hipolito "Pail" Aguilar


Deputy Secretary, Finance & Operations
New Mexico Public Education Department