Monday, June 6, 2011

Double Trouble From This Charity Lawyer

by Gary Snyder

Roosevelt Hairston, Jr, a former lawyer for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, was arrested and charged for embezzling $1.7 million as he served as general counsel for the hospital. Charges against Hairston include mail fraud, money laundering and even filing a fake tax return.

The entire episode reveals the failure of the hospital’s financial auditing system to identify and stop significant financial waste, or in this case – serious fraud. It took 12 years for investigators to identify and uncover the stolen funds. Steven Altschuler, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s CEO, in a statement, stated that the hospital is reviewing its internal control structure to ensure the proper safeguarding of the institution’s assets.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Hairston created false companies, forged invoices, and even created fake email accounts in order to continue the scheme and cover his tracks. His fraud continued, completely unabated, for about 12 years before hospital auditors finally caught up with him.

Attorney Hairston utilized his money laundering and embezzlement scheme by establishing himself in a “position of trust” within the hospital. That trust spilled over to other areas. Hariston also served on the board for a number of nonprofit organizations in the area, such as the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, and ironically he also served on several regulatory boards. For example, he was appointed to the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board by Mayor John Street.

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics, ,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more • Nonprofits: On the Brink (iUniverse, 2006)
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