Friday, September 6, 2013

UofL president says embezzlement caught by school employees in Kentucky

Co-workers helped catch a man who investigators accuse of stealing more than $2 million from the University of Louisville, the school's president said Thursday.

University administrators fired Perry "Chad" Vaughn after an internal audit found he had stolen money during his time as executive director of the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine.

Vaughn drove luxury cars, including a Corvette, Mercedes and Range Rover, and went on trips to the Caribbean and Las Vegas, according to an affidavit filed in federal court. He wrote checks using university money to pay credit card bills and child support, investigators said.

In the court filing, investigators said Vaughn admitted he'd been stealing money since 2007. A co-worker in October 2012 emailed school administrators questioning how Vaughn could have such a lavish lifestyle on a university employee's salary.

"We've got strong systems of internal controls, it's just that they weren't being followed," said Dr. James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville. "We'll let the investigation play out and see what other changes need to be made."

A federal judge is scheduled to decide Monday whether to freeze Vaughn's assets. Stephanie Collins, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said investigators haven't charged Vaughn criminally yet because the investigation is ongoing.

Ramsey said supervisors need to perform checks on employees as part of the internal control methods. He said that had been a "problem in the past," during other similar incidents.

In this case, Ramsey credited the co-worker who questioned Vaughn's actions and the resulting audit with helping to solve the case.

"I feel very good about that, that the university process worked quite well," Ramsey said.

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