A man who once served as the senior director of housing for the University of Florida has been sentenced to 50 months in a state prison for embezzlement and larceny. The man learned of his fate during a June 11 sentencing hearing. In addition to handing down a custodial sentence, the judge ordered the man to make restitution in the amount of $477,000. He will also lose about $250,000 in state retirement benefits according to media reports. The sentencing hearing was scheduled when the man entered guilty pleas to counts of grand theft, conspiracy to commit fraud and official misconduct.
Investigators recover items worth $250,000
The 44-year-old Gainesville resident was taken into custody in September 2017 after investigators discovered that he had used UF funds to cover his personal expenses. Prosecutors say that he used a credit card issued to the university to spend more than $80,000 on himself. The money was allegedly used to pay cellphone charges, buy lawn mowers and cover utility bills. A further grand theft grand theft charge was added when investigators allegedly discovered an unauthorized $470,000 withdrawal from a Campus USA Credit Union account. Many of the items purchased with the money have been recovered. The value of the recovered items is said to be approximately $250,000.
Police also charge 41-year-old woman
A 41-year-old woman has also been charged in connection with the money withdrawn from the USA Credit Union account. The woman formerly worked at the UF as an associate financial services director. Prosecutors say the man and woman opened the account in February 2016 to deposit UF housing checks and receive transfers from student housing groups. They allegedly then withdrew and divided the money.
Cooperating with prosecutors is sometimes a wise choice
The most important pieces of evidence in embezzlement and fraud cases are often documents like financial statements and bank records that juries tend to find extremely convincing. This is why criminal defense attorneys with experience in this area may seek to resolve cases involving white-collar crimes at the negotiating table. If you are accused of taking money without permission and the evidence against you appears to be strong, an attorney could advise you to consider cooperating with prosecutors in return for a more lenient sentence.