Tech Manager Indicted For Embezzling Over $124K From Arizona State University

December 19, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona State University’s (ASU) former information technology (IT) manager was indicted for embezzling over $124,000 from the institution over the course of over four years.

According to the auditor general, ASU leadership was partially at fault for the embezzlement.

Carlos Urrea, ASU’s former University Technology Officer (UTO) manager, allegedly embezzled the money through unauthorized personal purchases using his ASU purchase card. (The UTO is now the Enterprise Technology Office). ASU reported their findings on Urrea to the auditor general for further investigation.

In a report published last Friday, the auditor general found that Urrea used his purchase card to make over 800 personal purchases amounting to over $124,000. Urrea then attempted to conceal the purchases using over 700 forged receipts and falsified the business purpose descriptions to make them appear as if they were for valid ASU purposes. 

According to the auditor general report, an ASU audit in December 2021 revealed discrepancies between Urrea’s receipts and the issuing bank’s line-item details of the purchases. Urrea reportedly refused to comply repeatedly with further auditory efforts by the university. At the time, ASU found over $95,000 of unauthorized personal purchases made by Urrea. 

Upon further investigation by the auditor general, the amount Urrea allegedly embezzled grew by over $28,000. 

Among those unauthorized purchases were gift cards, including $11,000 in Costco Shop cards; electronics and accessories, including 10 smart watches; household items and furniture, including two Christmas trees; appliances, including a washer and dryer; gaming products, including 12 gaming consoles; fitness and recreation items, including a treadmill and a rowing machine; and warranties.

The auditor general reported that Urrea admitted to using the ASU purchase card for personal purchases. Urrea told the auditor general team that he used ASU’s Adobe Acrobat Editor software to alter his personal purchase receipts in PDF format.

Urrea also reportedly called his actions “very dumb,” and characterized the purchases as his means of providing for his family. 

According to the State Press salary database for ASU, Urrea made $45,000 in 2016, $75,000 in 2017, $77,250 in 2018, $92,700 in 2019, $100,116 in 2020, and $106,000 in 2021. 

According to the auditor general, ASU revealed that its executive administration officials allowed Urrea to bypass appropriate university policies and procedures for purchase cards so that Urrea could either provide immediate IT-related equipment or maintain his support for senior leadership. As a result, Urrea was exempted from engaging in the procurement process, obtaining prior purchase approval, submitting detailed business purpose descriptions for purchases, submitting receipts on time, and bypassing restricted spending protocols when receipts were submitted late. 

“Mr. Urrea was able to make and conceal his personal p-card purchases because management allowed him to: use his p-card instead of procurement process on the pretext of providing immediate support to senior leadership, make p-card purchases without seeking prior approval, submit vague business purposes, [and] submit p-card receipts 2-3 months late without restricting his p-card spending to $1 in accordance with policy,” stated the report. 

The auditor general noted that ASU modified its purchase card policy by requiring executive administration adherence where possible, or requiring the business team — not individuals — to make purchases where not possible. 

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office passed on the auditor general’s findings to the Maricopa County Superior Court Grand Jury. The latter indicted Urrea on 14 felony counts of theft, misuse of public monies, fraudulent schemes, and forgery. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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