Ex-city employee accused in water utility fraud case

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A former Albuquerque city employee now owes the water utility thousands of dollars.

He’s accused of using insider information to credit his account and payments on his water bills.

Investigators believe the man posted nearly $10,000 worth of payments to two of his own water bills over three years.

APD and the city inspector general’s office started investigating in February.

That’s when the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority found 23 different credits on the man’s account.

Turns out the man was a city IT employee who helped transfer the water utility’s computer billing system from a city run system to an independent system.

When investigators kept looking into it, they found the man had actually credited two accounts with $9,800.

All of that let the man keep his water from being turned off.

Investigators say he was able to do it because the man had an unchanged administrative password to the water utility’s new billing system.

Investigators say the man admitted what he did and has now agreed to pay back around $10,000 for all the unpaid water bills.

While it is not an ideal situation, the water utility authority says ultimately it shows its auditing works.

“Obviously we’re always surprised when we see something of this nature, but I think it speaks to the ongoing need to remain vigilant and to continue with the processes that we have in place to catch these things when they occur,” said spokesman David Morris.

The employee’s name hasn’t been released by APD or the city inspector general’s office yet.

He could be facing felony fraud charges.

The water utility authority says it has also changed the administrator access and password on the account that let the city employee access its system.

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