A former executive director of New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries has been indicted by a Roosevelt County Grand Jury on numerous charges. The charges included fraud, forgery and disposing of stolen property.
The Roosevelt County Magistrate Court issued a warrant for David Randall “Randy” Rankin’s arrest on Nov. 1, according to court records. He appeared in court and was released on a personal recognizance bond on Nov. 17, the Baptist New Mexican reported. Rankin, 71, was indicted on 28 counts of fraud (over $20,000), one count of forgery (over $20,000) and one count of disposing of stolen property (over $20,000), according to information released by the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s office and court records.
Rankin’s attorney, Eric Dixon, said the charges are “100% false,” and his client planned to plead not guilty at his Dec. 11 arraignment in Portales, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported. Rankin filed a lawsuit in March 2023 against NMBCH and its board members for breach of contract, according to court records. That lawsuit is ongoing and set for a jury trial in September 2024.
The alleged crimes occurred between 2018 and 2021, the Baptist New Mexican reported. The charges stem from allegations that Rankin and Jose Lopez, a local contractor, fraudulently used the NMBCH’s bank accounts and large construction projects to pay for personal home renovations, the district attorney’s office said. Lopez also faces charges including 30 counts of fraud, three counts of attempted tax evasion and one count of acting as a contractor without a license.
Rankin was terminated from NMBCH on Jan. 21, 2022. In November, they released a statement noting, “the Board of Directors immediately took action to ensure financial accountability by engaging professionals to review prior activities and incorporating new finance policies and procedures including instituting separation of duties within the financial aspects of the organization.”
According to the Nov. 10 press release, NMBCH has engaged new auditors and accountants and is seeking accreditation through the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability.
Serenity Richard, the NMBCH’s current executive director, noted the home used a new accountant for their annual audit to ensure compliance with bylaws requiring the same auditor as the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. “We chose to seek help from accounting professionals in order to be an excellent steward of all the Lord has provided, ensure donor and supporter confidence, and operate at the highest standards of transparency and accountability,” she said.
Richard emphasized that care for the children never wavered because of the home’s “highly committed staff who live out the gospel in their daily lives.” She also said NMBCH remains dedicated to its mission: bringing hope to hurting children and families. She explained that the home would soon welcome new staff, allowing the home to minister to more children beyond the 17 children at the Portales campus.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Brittany Barrett and Kevin Parker and originally published by the Baptist New Mexican.