Risk & Compliance

Feds: Ex-Hospital CFO Stole $96K

Richard Lynn Wheat is accused of arranging to automatically pay the monthly balance of his personal credit card bill out of the hospital's bank acc...
Tim Reason and Stephen TaubAugust 28, 2007

The former CFO of a nonprofit California hospital was charged Monday with embezzling $96,000.

Richard Lynn Wheat, the former CFO of Southern Monterey County Memorial Hospital (known as the George L. Mee Memorial Hospital), was charged by United States Attorney Scott N. Schools charged with one count of wire fraud after he allegedly arranged to have his personal credit card bill paid automatically each month out of the hospital’s bank account.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Wheat, who joined the hospital as CFO in July 1999, set up an automatic electronic payment from the hospital’s bank account to pay the entire balance on his personal credit card each month. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Wheat’s credit card expenses included personal travel, hotels, entertainment, groceries, auto parts, stamps, hardware, satellite television, sporting equipment, clothing, personal Internet service, and donations to his church. The fraud allegedly took place from about November 28, 2002 through January 2004, when Wheat was fired.

Wheat’s attorney, Paul B. Meltzer, did not immediately return CFO.com’s call for comment.

“We can’t comment about the case because it is ongoing,” Elizabeth Syer, director of marketing of Mee Health Systems, told CFO.com.

If found guilty, Wheat, who is scheduled to appear in court on September 20, faces as much as 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, plus restitution.

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