Physicians group sues after AP audit reveals embezzlement

A Reno, Nevada, emergency physicians group recently sued its former bookkeeper for alleged embezzlement, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

After an accounts payable audit conducted in October of last year revealed financial inconsistencies, Gretchen Swope was accused of misappropriating more than $700,000 from the Reno Emergency Physicians Association over a period of 13 years. The group is now seeking more than $1.5 million in damages.

According to the suit, Swope opened a separate bank account for her firm, Medical Billing, in 1999 to facilitate the embezzlement. Her husband and another officer with the company are also implicated in the suit, which claims they knew the account existed and were either "direct participants" or should have known she was "embezzling, converting, stealing or misappropriating the money rightfully owned by the plaintiff," as quoted by the news source.

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Thomas Beko, says Swope has admitted the embezzlement but disputes the amount.

When bookkeepers, payroll managers and the like are given too much power, the potential for misappropriation can increase. Establishing a system of checks and balances ensures the movement of funds must be corroborated by another person.

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