Ex-college instructors allegedly embezzle about $200,000
Attorney for suspects says his clients are innocent
FARMINGTON — Court documents reveal how two former San Juan College instructors allegedly fraudulently obtained more than $200,000 using a personal company to obtain training/certificate fees.
Steven Gerencser, 49, and Daniel Uhl, 64, each face 32 felony counts of fraud and embezzlement, according to a criminal complaint.
Gerencser and Uhl allegedly conducted "numerous" training sessions between Sept. 8, 2017, and April 30, 2018, during which they used the SJC School of Energy's equipment, certificates and curriculum but billed the participating companies through their personal business, Four Corners Well Control, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Eric Morrow, the attorney for Uhl and Gerencser, said his clients did nothing wrong, that the allegations are false and that San Juan College is retaliating against his clients for having brought a civil lawsuit against it in Albuquerque federal court.
The San Juan County Sheriff's Office launched the investigation in May 2018.
The affidavit states a detective spoke to an attorney for San Juan College after officials there discovered the college had purchased several certificates for classes that the school did not have any record of billing, according to court documents.
A representative of one of the companies told the college he believed his company was working with San Juan College until Gerencser allegedly stated he was with Four Corners Well Control and provided invoices using the company's name.
A detective for the Sheriff's Office identified more than a dozen businesses that had made payments to Four Corners Well Control for International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) training.
An IADC employee told the Sheriff's Office that Gerencser and Uhl had been certified instructors for quite some time, but their company was not accredited and could not provide instruction/certificates until after April 30, 2018.
One of the companies paid Four Corners Well Control about $100,000, according to court documents.
A total of six of the companies paid more than $55,000 to the suspects' company, and more than 150 certificates were issued before Four Corners Well Control was accredited as a business to administer classes on its own.
Both men have been released from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center per a court order.
Their first appearance in Aztec Magistrate Court is scheduled for the morning of Jan. 16.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.