The Equine Industry Program of the University of Louisville in Kentucky recently discovered an employee had embezzled $461,889 from the organization after an accounts payable audit was conducted due to suspicious financial records.
Alisha Ward, who worked for the program in the College of Business, has been found guilty of federal money laundering charges and wire fraud. She has been sentenced to 37 months in prison and is ordered to pay back the full amount in restitution. Ward served as a senior program coordinator for the Equine Industry, but was fired from the position once the illegal activity had been discovered.
According to the Courier Journal, Ward pleaded guilty to all charges in April. From 2001 to 2007, she faked signatures on checks from the program's accounts, covered up the theft in the financial records and created fraudulent PayPal accounts to steal the funds. Ward used the money to make a variety of purchases, including home remodeling products, expensive clothing and a television set. While she has been ordered to pay restitution, the university said it will recover the remaining amount from insurance coverage, reports the news source.