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Two women charged with embezzling $300,000 in grants

A woman formerly employed by MetroHealth and a female friend have been indicted for allegedly embezzling almost $300,000 from various grants awarded by Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. The grand jury handed in a 71-count indictment charging the two women with aggravated theft, money laundering and numerous counts of telecommunications fraud.

The indictment alleges that the former MetroHealth employee supervised the spending of grant money received by the system. She previously worked for Case Western in an analogous job and was able to learn details of the grant-making and administration process. She and a friend allegedly set up a shell corporation in 2013 that was used to submit fraudulent invoices for grant research to Case Western. None of the invoiced work was ever performed.

According to the indictment, the two women always kept the invoice amount under $5,000 because invoices for this amount were never scrutinized. The women allegedly stole about $150,000 using false invoices.

The suspects then allegedly switched, requesting gift cards from Case Western that were worth hundreds of dollars. In all, the two women were able to extract $140,000 in gift cards from Case Western.

The scheme came to a halt when a new supervisor at Case Western became suspicious of the gift card requests and instituted a close review of the cards. The supervisor took his concerns to MetroHealth, and MetroHealth informed officials at the university. The two women are scheduled for arraignment on Aug. 3, 2017, in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

The two women in this case face serious criminal charges, but they are entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing similar charges may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for advice on the law that will govern the case and for an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or outright acquittal.

Source: The Plain Dealer, "Ex-MetroHealth worker charged with stealing nearly $300,000 from Case Western Reserve University grants," Cory Schaffer, July 21, 2017

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