Hospital employee accused of embezzling $850,000

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by Lane Kimble
by Chris Patterson

GLENDALE -- A Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare employee used her job to steal $850,000 from her employer. Her theft went undetected for almost a decade, but a technology upgrade brought her theft to light.

The hospital group calls the sophisticated scheme that went on for over nine years a breach of trust. They say the 49-year-old female employee added fake paid-time off hours to random accounts. She would then deposit that money into her personal bank account, and immediately delete the time off requests from the record.

Wheaton Franciscan Spokesperson Anne Ballentine says, "Until 2013, we used a paper system for paycheck stubs or pay remittances, and that allowed this to go on as long as it did. We recently moved to an electronic system and that's eventually how this was detected."

Many of the 848 employees used in this scam could have to refile their taxes. Wheaton Franciscan says it will cover any extra taxes those employees need to pay. "We have revenues of $1.7 billion, so it isn't extremely significant in terms of numbers, but it is a breach of trust. It occurred over a long period of time and it's upsetting," says Ballentine.

The 49-year-old woman was fired in July after admitting to the theft. Glendale police took over the investigation, and arrested the woman. 

Neither Wheaton Franciscan or police are releasing the 49-year-old woman's name.

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