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Public Health New Mexico

Auditor: Director May Have Stolen From Disability Program

Damian Gadal via Compfight CC

Funding for people with developmental disabilities in this state has been tight for years. And one organization might have had thousands less than it should have. The state auditor says a program director may have siphoned federal funding into his personal bank account.

The former program director at the Center for Self Advocacy is accused of stealing a little more than $18,000 in small amounts, spanning from April 2014 until February of this year, according to the auditor’s investigation. Joseph Calloway was the director at that time. 

The New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Planning Council oversees the center. John Block is the executive director. 

"Everyone on the council and the staff were shocked to learn about this. And with our limited funding, it was just a shame that this occurred," he said. "It’s very sad that someone would take advantage of the system this way, especially for funding that’s set aside for advocates and people with developmental disabilities."

The center trains people with disabilities to educate folks about how to improve their quality of life. Advocates who attend those trainings get a $25 stipend for each class. The auditor’s investigation says the director created fake invoices for advocates, signed the checks himself and then kept the money.

Block said the center has made some changes that were recommended by the auditor to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. The District Attorney’s Office is considering whether to prosecute the case.

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