Former UW employee charged in $252,000 theft

Here is some good information on employee theft.  Employers are vulnerable and must consider protecting this exposure.

Jason Vandeberghe

An executive assistant at the University of Washington Medical Center has been charged with 19 counts of theft after he was accused of embezzling $252,059 from the hospital.

By Jennifer Sullivan
Seattle Times staff reporter

A former executive assistant at the University of Washington Medical Center has been charged with 19 counts of theft after he was accused of embezzling more than $250,000 from the hospital.

Elisha Gustav Lang, 38, worked at the UW from July 2007 until he was fired in May 2010, according to charges filed last week in King County Superior Court.

UW police Detective Donald Greany said in charging paperwork that he started investigating the case a year ago after being contacted by the university’s department of internal auditing. Auditors told Greany that Lang was suspected of misusing his UW corporate credit card and other university funds, charging papers said.

There were nearly 1,900 charges on Lang’s corporate card totaling more than $200,000 in spending, court papers said.

In June, when police searched Lang’s home, officers seized 74 items thought to have been bought with the corporate card. Investigators think Lang frequently used the card for personal purchases from June 2008 until April 2010.

In addition to the $204,340 in suspicious charges on his corporate card, Lang also used a UW travel account to purchase airfare, lodging and ground transportation totaling $39,350, charges said. He also reportedly asked the university to reimburse $1,612 worth of personal expenses.

The charging documents didn’t disclose the remainder of the alleged theft, which police say totaled $252,059.

The charging documents did not indicate what the money was spent on.

The UW did not assign anyone to oversee Lang’s credit-card spending. Normally, anyone assigned a corporate card would have an administrator sign off on their charges, charging papers said.

Greany wrote that because of Lang’s alleged misuse “there have been systemwide changes” to how corporate cards and travel accounts are handled.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

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