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Man accused of defrauding CASA

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By Martin Salazar

A former employee at Luna Community College has been charged with fraud for allegedly bilking a local non-profit group that advocates for children out of nearly $2,100.

Michael A. Adams, 54, who resides on the 2500 block of Hot Springs Boulevard, was charged in late October with a single count of fraud between $500 and $2,500, a fourth-degree felony. Online court records indicate that Adams, a former information technology director at Luna, avoided arrest by surrendering himself to the court earlier this month. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 11.

The alleged victim in the case is the Court Appointed Special Advocates program and its executive director, Barbara Casey. A state police affidavit filed in San Miguel County Magistrate Court states that CASA reached out to Adams in September to work on the organization’s computers.

According to the affidavit:
Adams told Casey the computers were too old and recommended they get new computers. He asked for payment up front for a laptop, and Casey wrote Adams a check for $699. The following day, Casey asked him what it would cost to replace other computers.

Adams returned to CASA on Sept. 27 with an invoice for $1,398 for two desktop computers and said they would arrive in about a week, at which point he would install them.

When Adams failed to show up, Casey tried to contact him. Adams left Casey a phone message on Oct. 9 stating that he had been in Albuquerque because of a family emergency. He apologized for not calling sooner and said he would install the computer the following day.

Adams again failed to show up, prompting Casey to leave him a message that she was disappointed in him and that she felt he had violated her trust. By that point, the check for the computers had already been cashed. She told him she would go to authorities unless he returned the money or provided the computers.

When she didn’t hear from him she went to state police.

When an officer contacted Adams, he said the computers were on back order because he didn’t place the order until the checks cleared.

He also told the officer that the CASA office was closed when he showed up there to speak with Casey.

Adams showed up at CASA on Oct. 19 and hooked up an LG computer, which was not the Hewlett-Packard they had agreed on.

Casey told police the monitor he brought was his own. Adams told Casey he didn’t bring the new monitor and keyboard because he didn’t have time to unpack them. When he left he took a Toshiba laptop, telling Casey he would uninstall Windows Vista, which might be causing the problems.

A few days later, Adams left a letter on CASA’s door stating that he wanted to end their business agreement and would return the organization’s money and the Toshiba computer by Oct. 23.

As of Oct. 26, Adams had failed to return the money or the Toshiba computer.