Former Grady worker stole more than $450K from hospital

Former Grady worker stole more than $450K from hospital

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ATLANTA -

A federal grand jury indicted Donald Thomas, the former Assistant Controller for the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation, on Tuesday for embezzling over $450,000 in public funds.  
 
"Thomas is charged with stealing from a hospital that serves the healthcare needs of thousands of people in the Atlanta community and beyond," said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.  "Because Grady relies on federal funding to provide medical care to those who cannot afford it, money embezzled from Grady cheats both Grady patients and taxpayers."
 
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: "The FBI launched its criminal investigation into this matter after receiving information that Thomas, a person in a position of trust at Grady Memorial Hospital, was abusing that position and, in fact, embezzling hospital funds.   The federal indictment of Thomas should serve as a message that the FBI will aggressively dedicate its various investigative resources in such matters that can adversely impact our healthcare system and those that provide it."
 
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Thomas was employed as Assistant Controller for the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation ("Grady") from December 1994 through June 2011.  Grady is one of the largest public health systems in the United States and oversees Grady Memorial Hospital, the largest hospital in Georgia.  Grady relies significantly on federal funding, including Medicare reimbursement and grants.  
 
The indictment alleges that, beginning in January 2008, Thomas used his access to Grady's payroll system to fabricate additional compensation, such as vacation pay and severance pay, to be issued to terminated Grady employees.  Thomas then altered payroll records so that the additional payments were deposited directly into accounts under his control.  In addition, according to the indictment, on two occasions, Thomas created paper checks for falsified compensation made payable to terminated Grady employees.  Thomas allegedly forged the employees' signatures to endorse the checks before depositing them into one of the bank accounts under his control.  
 
According to the indictment, the scheme came to light when a former Grady employee expressed concern that her 2011 W-2 tax form indicated a larger amount of compensation from Grady than she had actually earned or received.  Further investigation revealed that her payroll records had been altered and additional pay in her name had been deposited into an account controlled by Thomas.  The indictment states that at least twenty former Grady employees received inaccurate tax forms as a result of Thomas's alleged crimes.
 
The indictment alleges that over the course of the scheme, Thomas obtained over $450,000 from Grady.  Thomas unsuccessfully attempted to cover up his embezzlement by reversing some of the changes that he had made in Grady's payroll system.
 
Thomas, 53, of Atlanta, Ga., was arraigned today before United States Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman on charges of embezzlement, wire fraud and bank fraud, and was released on bond. The charges carry a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.  In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
 
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges.  The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
 
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
 
Assistant United States Attorneys Shanya J. Dingle and G. Scott Hulsey are prosecuting the case.

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