Thursday, August 8, 2013

Florida Woman Sentenced For Embezzling Nearly $7 Million From Health Concern

From the Miami Herald on 6.12.13:

The community knew Kathryn Abbate as the leader of a Miami Beach-based clinic that provides vital healthcare to the poor and uninsured.

Secretly, her attorney and prosecutors say she was a gambler, drug addict and thief, raiding almost $7 million from the Miami Beach Community Health Center to support her habits.

For that, a federal judge on Wednesday sentenced Abbate to 42 months in prison -- but not before her attorney Bruce Lyons spun a tale of a deeply troubled woman.
He called it a “tale of two Kathryns.”

According to Lyons: There were long nights playing slots at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Bundles of cash for unnamed politicians -- some of it surreptitiously left under a raincoat. Secret payments to settle sexual harassment allegations against a clinic employee. Another $50,000 went to someone’s wedding.

“I accept the responsibility for my conduct,” Abbate told Judge Marcia Cooke, “because I am responsible.”

She added: “I am 64-years-old. Not in the greatest of health. And I am petrified...I’m just praying that you’ll consider my lifetime of service.”

Lyons said his client didn’t live a lavish lifestyle, but she stole to secretly feed her addictions. ... The ill-gotten money flowed from unearned leave time paid out to Abbate, as well as 800 checks she paid to herself from 2008 until she was caught in 2012, according to prosecutors. She claimed the money was for “community development,” and despite offering no back up documentation, the expenses passed the examination of auditors year after year.

The health center has sued the companies responsible for looking over the center’s books, and three people quit or were fired after news broke of Abbate’s embezzlement -- which the center made public by contacting The Miami Herald.  ... Abbate pled guilty in March and faced up to 10 years in prison. She received a lighter sentence in exchange for cooperating with authorities.  ...

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here: