An Eastern New Mexico University employee has been charged with embezzling more than $15,000 from the university.
Jeremy Phillippi, 26, was arrested Saturday after admitting to using a university purchasing card for personal hotel stays and gifts, according to an arrest affidavit.
In addition to embezzlement, Phillippi is also charged with forgery of his supervisors' signatures on receipts of the purchases he made in an attempt to pass them through ENMU's Financial Department.
Phillippi serves as the secretary for ENMU's Math Department and as science fair coordinator.
ENMU Police Chief Brad Mauldin said a tip from an employee in the school's Financial Department launched the investigation after the employee noticed a discrepancy in signatures on the purchasing card receipts.
"They also noticed some strange purchases," Maudlin said, who wouldn't go into specifics on what those purchases are because the investigation is still active.
According to the affidavit:
- Phillippi spoke with Mauldin and Detective Patricia Terry voluntarily on Friday about an investigation being conducted in regard to Phillippi using a Bank of America purchasing card for unapproved purchases.
- Phillippi told Mauldin he has gone to Albuquerque numerous times and used the card to stay in the hotels.
- Phillippi admitted to buying a friend in Albuquerque a gift and charged the cost to the purchasing card.
- Phillippi said he knew the charges were unapproved by ENMU.
- He also admitted to signing his supervisors' names on purchasing statements to validate the charges through the ENMU Financial Department.
Phillippi was charged with seven counts of embezzlement and six counts of forgery, adding up to 10 felony charges and three misdemeanors.
Mauldin says more embezzlement and forgery charges are expected to follow Phillippi's arrest. He says they'll be able to determine the final amount of money that Phillippi embezzled when the department's investigation is complete.
"We'll call the police, which is what we did if we found out an employee has broken the law," said ENMU President Steven Gamble on the procedure of dealing with an embezzlement situation. "It's just a civic duty that we have."
Gamble said there is no set policy, if an employee is breaking the law, it's common sense to notify authorities.
Phillippi remained at the Roosevelt County Detention Center Wednesday on a $15,000 cash surety bond for the crimes, according to detention center staff.