Many people would take a second look at someone who earned a relatively small income but drove fancy cars and collected expensive paintings. When asked how he was able to afford these items, an employee at the University of Massachusetts Medical School claimed that he inherited the money. That lie worked for a long time. After the man died in a car accident, however, investigators looked into his work and came up with a whole different story. The man had stolen more than $3 million from the school.
Instead of depositing the money into an account for the state Medicaid insurance program, the 54-year-old financial analyst devised an elaborate scheme to put the money into an account he created especially for the purpose of embezzlement. The scam netted him $3.4 million during a five-year period. It is possibly the largest theft by a state employee in the past decade.
The scam, which was uncovered after the man's death in January, is raising questions about security. Over the past 10 years, the man's office collected more than $500 million. How hard is the office working to safeguard this large amount of financial resources?
Apparently not hard enough. The checks were supposed to be made out to "Massachusetts Estate Recovery Unit." Because many of the check writers abbreviated the payer name to "Massachusetts Estate Recovery", the man was able to create a corporation called Massachusetts Estate Recovery Systems and put that money in that account instead.
What are next legal steps? The man cannot be criminally charged because he is dead, but will the University of Massachusetts be able to recoup any of the money it lost? The school has already been negotiating a payment system with the man's widow. If she is unwilling to negotiate, the school has the right to sue. What legal rights does the widow have? Was she aware of the theft? As of now, she and her attorney have no comment, according to media reports.
Source: The Boston Globe, "Unsuspected, UMass Medical worker stole millions" Andrea Estes, Sep. 15, 2013