Former Employee Pleads Guilty to Embezzling More Than $5.1 Million from Non-Profit
Money Stolen Over Eight-Year Period; Non-Profit Alerted Authorities Upon Discovery of the Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 25, 2013|
WASHINGTON—Ephonia M. Green, 44, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to federal charges stemming from her embezzlement of more than $5 million from her former employer, the Association of American Medical Colleges, a non-profit corporation.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Green pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of engaging in illegal monetary transactions. The Honorable Beryl A. Howell scheduled sentencing for February 28, 2014.
As part of the plea agreement, Green agreed to criminal forfeiture and restitution in the amount of roughly $5.1 million. Under the voluntary federal sentencing guidelines, she faces between 41 and 51 months of incarceration.
According to the government’s evidence, from January 5, 1998 through July 15, 2013, Green was employed by the Association of American Medical Colleges as an administrative assistant. The association, located in Washington, D.C., represents all the accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada and is responsible for administering the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT.
Green’s duties included processing invoices from the association’s vendors. Separately, Green owned a bridal shop in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, that conducted business under the name Fabulous Concepts Inc., or FCI.
From July 15, 2005 through July 1, 2013, Green created and submitted false invoices to the Association of American Medical Colleges in the name of three entities—The Brookings Institution, FCI, and the University Health System Consortium, also known as UHC. In doing so, she was seeking payment for services that were never provided and without the association’s knowledge that Green would be the actual recipient of the payments.
Through this fraudulent scheme, Green embezzled approximately $5.1 million from her employer. Although the association received federal program funds each calendar year, none of the money that was embezzled came from federal program funds.
The Brookings Institution is a private, non-profit policy organization based in Washington, D.C., and UHC is an alliance of academic medical centers and hospitals. Green is not affiliated with either entity. Green’s bridal shop, FCI, was never entitled to receive any money from the association. For the false invoices in the name of The Brookings Institution and UHC, Green registered similar trade names with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation and then opened bank accounts in those names.
“This part-time wedding planner created bogus businesses and phony bank accounts to defraud her nonprofit employer out of more than $5 million,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Her lucrative and long-running scheme came crashing down when her employer discovered her deception and informed law enforcement. She now faces years in prison as a result of the millions she stole for her own self-indulgence that were initially intended to benefit educational programs.”
“Today, Ms. Green admitted her participation in a scheme to defraud her employer for her own personal gain,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave. “The FBI remains committed to investigating those who hide behind financial fraud schemes and to working to protect employers from the damages caused by these deceptive scams.”
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Assistant Director in Charge Parlave thanked the Association of American Medical Colleges for promptly reporting its discovery of the embezzlement to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in July 2013 and for its full cooperation with the investigation that followed. U.S. Attorney Machen and Assistant Director in Charge Parlave also commended the investigative work of agents and analysts of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Finally, they praised the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Corinne Kleinman, Deputy U.S. Marshal Wayne Rollock, Assistant U.S. Attorney Zia Faruqui, who is working on forfeiture issues, and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Johnson, who is prosecuting the case.