Greg Campbell: The Man The New Mexico Finance Authority Blames For Its Fake Audit [Corrected]
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The NMFA told us their former controller had moved out of state after resigning from his post and could not be located. But we found Greg Campbell’s fully furnished house in Albuquerque. And we’ve begun to fill in the picture of the man being blamed for a growing scandal in the agency that manages billions of dollars for the State of New Mexico.
Neighbors say Campbell and his family (he has several children) have “gone back home” to visit Campbell’s hometown in the Northeast and were surprised by any suggestion that they would not be returning. Another neighbor was concerned about the length of time the Campbells have been away “on vacation.” He has not seen them since sometime in June. He’s been watering their outdoor potted plants to unsuccessfully keep them alive. “They’re good people,” he told us. “Greg’s a hard working man.”
An above ground swimming pool in the back yard has gone stagnant as the house remains unoccupied. Toys are scattered around the back yard. The light is always on in the outside entryway. Like the struggling potted plants, the front yard’s landscaping is dying from neglect and lack of water.
The NMFA has publicly blamed its former controller for what State Auditor Hector Balderas has called a “fraudulent” audit. Balderas claims “tens of millions of dollars are unaccounted for.”
Here’s what we know so far: An audit fabricated to appear to be the work product of a nationally recognized accounting firm was discovered in NMFA’s files after Balderas put NMFA on his “at risk” list for failing to submit its annual audit to his office for review. The audit appeared to be the work product of the Clifton Gunderson accounting firm, who has been auditing NMFA since 2009. But their letterhead and other documents making it appear they had conducted the audit had been appended to an audit that was not theirs.
The “fraudulent” audit had been delivered to investors and credit rating agencies and, according to the Wall Street Journal, was the basis for a $24.3 million bond offering by NMFA. As the result of the “fraudulent” or “fake” audit, $1.26 billion in New Mexico debt is facing a downgrade by Moody’s. Other credit agencies have not acted, but are watching closely. The State of New Mexico could face lawsuits from bondholders injured if the bonds they purchased based on the “fake” audited statement of NMFA finances turns out to have been materially false and causes the bonds they purchased to be downgraded.
NMFA puts the mess squarely on Greg Campbell. Who is he?
New Mexico Watchdog has obtained a photograph of Mr. Campbell from a larger 2005 NMFA staff photograph taken on the balcony of its Shelby Street offices in Santa Fe. At the time, Mr. Campbell was a Senior Accountant with NMFA. In 2008 the agency’s annual report began identifying him as Controller, a post he held until he left the agency in June.
In that position, Mr. Campbell supervised a staff of five accountants, including Robert Brannon, the man who now holds the title of NMFA’s Controller. A 2010 organizational chart of NMFA showed Campbell reporting directly to John Duff, NMFA’s Chief Financial Officer. (You can click on the image at the right to improve its legibility).
Here is another image of Mr. Campbell, a pen and ink drawing of NMFA staff from the 2010 annual report. Click on the photo and it will unfold to its full length. Mr. Campbell, we believe, is the tall African-American standing in the back row, sixth from the right. According to neighbors, he is in his early to mid-fifties in age.
We have been informed by a well-placed source in New Mexico state government that Mr. Campbell gave NMFA two months notice. Employment postings show he was still the contact person at NMFA to fill an accountant’s position as late as mid-April. The State Auditor placed NMFA on its “at risk” list on May 23, 2012. NMFA says Mr. Campbell left in June. If he did give two months notice, the agency was not taken by surprise by his departure and his departure had been announced well before the State Auditor placed NMFA on his “at risk” list and the fraudulent audit came to light.
NMFA has not disclosed the reasons for Mr. Campbell’s resignation.
In a previous report, we noted that NMFA had a history of noncompliance with the audit deadlines dating from 2009.
In related news, the New Mexico Securities Division has announced its own investigation into NMFA’s fake audit and whether any securities laws have been broken. The sale of NMFA’s bonds is governed by both state and federal securities laws.
UPDATE: Since we published this report we have learned that an accountant named Greg Campbell was the manager of a Paychex, Inc. payroll and accounting office on Menaul Boulevard in Albuquerque. Another website identifies Greg Campbell as the owner of the store. A call to Paychex revealed that the store has since moved from that location and Campbell’s tenure as a manager was so long ago he is no longer in the company’s records. The New Mexico Licensing & Regulation Department has no record of Mr. Campbell holding any accountancy license in the state of New Mexico.
[Correction] The original version of this story quoted State Auditor Hector Balderas as saying “tens of millions of dollars are missing.” He has used that exact phrasing in conversations with us in the context of such large sums missing from the financial statements. The linked KRQE-TV quote from the report by Katie Kim quotes him as saying these sums are “unaccounted for.” We have made the quote consistent with linked report. Thanks to Katie Kim for the heads up].
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Tags: Clifton Gunderson, fake audit, fake NMFA audit, fraudulent audit, fraudulent NMFA audit, Greg Campbell, Hector Balderas, Moody's, New Mexico Finance Authority, New Mexico State Auditor, NM Finance Authority, NMFA