ALBUQUERQUE – Officials seek to return money that was stolen from inmates’ accounts at the Bernalillo County jail over several years.
The Metropolitan Detention Center said Tuesday it is trying locate 99 former inmates so the misappropriated money can be refunded.
An independent forensic review recently made public by the state auditor’s office alleges that a former fiscal supervisor at the jail tapped into inmate trust accounts and issued fraudulent debit cards. More than $15,600 had been misappropriated from the accounts, which are used by inmates to buy commissary snacks, toiletries and pay for some services during their incarceration.
Jail officials were first tipped off in 2019 when a former inmate called about money missing from the account.
Officials say they’ve instituted new procedures and taken other corrective actions.
“We would like to apologize to all the individuals impacted by this unfortunate situation,” said Greg Richardson, the detention center’s chief. “As we strive to maintain the highest of standards, we have put safeguards in place to prevent this kind of fraudulent activity from occurring in the future.”
For example, employees now are emailed a temporary login for the inmate trust account system and are required to change their password upon receipt. The debit cards and related equipment now are kept in the cash accounting office under surveillance and are inventoried.
The jail is sending out registered letters to the last known addresses of former inmates who may have been affected.