Two men are facing serious criminal charges after authorities claim that they acted to defraud the University of Pennsylvania. The men each face seven counts of wire fraud, as well as one count each of conspiring to commit money laundering. The story has received a great deal of media coverage throughout the state and beyond.
Authorities claim that the men engaged in a scheme by which they charged the University for services undertaken at the nearby Sheraton University City Hotel. Those services never took place according to investigators. The two men both held positions within the hotel chain, one as the general manager and the other as the chief engineer. They allegedly used those positions to conduct the large-scale fraudulent operation.
The federal charges stem from invoices allegedly created by the men and submitted to the University of Pennsylvania. Dozens of fraudulent invoices are believed to have been turned in for payment. The total of those payments is listed at more than $2.3 million. Those invoices were paid to a corporate entity that authorities claim was created by the two men for the sole purpose of engaging in fraud.
As these men move through the legal process, they will both have the chance to construct a criminal defense to the charges they face. Federal wire fraud and conspiracy charges can have very serious punitive repercussions, making it imperative that both men strive to avoid a conviction. As for the money lost by the University of Pennsylvania, there is no word on whether it is likely that those funds can be recovered.
Source: bizjournals.com, "2 Penn campus hotel employees defraud University of $3M: U.S. Attorney's Office", Alison Burdo, May 26, 2015