Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Combating the Higher Education Embezzlment Epidemic

Read our new article, Combating the Higher Education Embezzlment Epidemic here. Check out all of the recent cases in the past year:

Drake University
April 2011; Robert Alex Harlan, former director of student accounts, accused of embezzling at least $600,000 over a 7 year period. Harlan allegedly “manipulated institutional accounts” which he then converted for his personal use.

Vassar College
April 2011; Arthur H. Fisher, former project manager, accused of embezzling nearly $2 million over a 5 year period. Fisher allegedly set up a phony construction company and charged the college for work not performed. As an aside, a veritable arsenal was seized at Fisher’s home after his arrest.

Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences
March 2011; Karen L. Peltz, former President, CEO and Trustee, accused of embezzling more than $1.5 million over a 5 year period. Peltz allegedly engaged in a variety of fraudulent reimbursement schemes, including receiving additional compensation.

University of Montana
March 2011; Christine Rose Bitterman, former residence life employee, accused of embezzling more than $300,000 over a 7 year period. Bitterman allegedly pocketed cash payments made by students.

University of Vermont
March 2011; Celine Bernier, former administrative assistant at the UVM Extension program in Newport, Vermont, accused of embezzling $45,800 over a 5 year period. Bernier allegedly deposited checks made out to the institution into personal accounts she and her husband, Tom Bernier, controlled.

New Jersey City University
December 2010; Shaunette P. Ruffin-Moody, former office manager for the university’s student government organization, pleaded guilty to embezzling $502,000 over at least a 3 year period. Ruffin-Moody issued at least 219 unauthorized university checks to herself, her husband, Alexander Moody and three others.

Columbia University
November 2010; George Castro, formerly affiliated with the university in some undisclosed manner, charged with embezzling $4.5 million over a several month period. Castro manipulated university accounts and caused electronic funds transfers to accounts he controlled under the name of an apparent vendor.

Duke University
November 2010; John William Cotton, former head of the Department of Surgery, charged with embezzling $267,000. Cotton allegedly used his position to order goods and services for his own personal use paid for by the department.

Iona College
October 2010; Sister Marie E. Thornton, former vice president of finance, charged with and ultimately plead guilty to embezzling $1.2 million. Thornton, who reportedly had a gambling problem, issued college checks and used college credit card accounts for her own benefit and was also fraudulently reimbursed by the college with phony invoices.

Virginia Commonwealth University
October 2010; Lisa Jones Durham, former coordinator for a university community outreach program, pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $144,000 over a 3 year period. Durham obtained checks made out to herself under her former name to pay for personal expenses.

St. John’s University
September 2010; Cecelia Chang, former Vice President for International Relations, pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1 million from the university. Chang created a non-profit entity which she represented was affiliated with the institution and fraudulently accepted donations which she converted for her own benefit.

La Salle University
May 2010; Stephen C. Greb, former director of food services embezzled about $5 million over at least a 20 year period. Greb created a phony food vendor and then authorized fraudulent payments which he pocketed.

Naropa University
April 2010; Ronda F. Devers, former accounts payable clerk, accused of embezzling nearly $600,000 over a 2 year period. Devers allegedly pocketed student refund checks by voiding them and reissuing them to herself and a girlfriend.


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