A former Yale administrative employee pleaded guilty on Monday of defrauding the university of more than $40.5 million by reselling electronics purchased with school funds over at least an eight-year period, according to court documents.
Jamie Petrone-Codrington, 42, who was director of finance and lead administrator at the medical school’s department of emergency medicine, used the funds “for various personal expenses, including expensive cars, real estate and travel,” according to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office in Connecticut.
This includes three Connecticut properties that she owns or co-owns, according to prosecutors.
Petrone-Codrington also filed false tax returns from 2013 to 2016, where she claimed the costs of the stolen equipment as business expenses, and failed to file any tax returns from 2017 to 2020. That cost the US Treasury $6 million, according to the press release.
Petrone-Codrington, who was arrested in September 2021, was charged with wire fraud and filing a false tax return. She faces up to 23 years in prison, according to court documents. She is currently out of jail on a $1 million bail bond and is set to be sentenced in June.
Her attorney, Frank Riccio, told CNN his client has “accepted responsibility for her actions and is remorseful.”
“She now looks forward towards sentencing and repairing some of the damage that has been caused,” he said.
The court has also ordered Petrone-Codrington to pay restitution in the amount of $40.5 million to Yale and more than $6 million to the Internal Revenue Service for failing to file and filing a false tax return.
The FBI launched an investigation into Petrone-Codrington in August 2021 after information was provided by the university and found that as early as 2013 she started ordering electronics, like Microsoft Surface Pro tablet computers, with the medical school’s university funds, according to the plea. She then sold them to a third-party business, which would direct funds of the electronics it sold back to Petrone-Codrington via Maziv Entertainment LLC, a company in which she is a principal, according to the press release.
During an eight-year period, Petrone-Codrington placed or ordered other members of Yale’s staff to place thousands of electronics orders. From May to August 2021 alone, she ordered about $2.1 million in computer equipment using Yale funds, according to the original complaint, and law enforcement was still determining how much of those purchases were legitimate.
In a statement provided to law enforcement in August 2021, Petrone-Codrington admitted to having executed the scheme for several years, and “estimated that approximately 90% of her computer-related purchases were fraudulent,” according to the FBI.
“The university thanks local law enforcement, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their handling of the case,” Yale University Spokeswoman Karen Peart told CNN. “Since the incident, Yale has worked to identify and correct gaps in its internal financial controls.”
Petrone-Codrington was employed by Yale beginning in 1999, but held her position as lead administrator and director of finance and administration for the university’s Department of Emergency Medicine since September 2019, according to court documents. She had been working for Yale’s Department of Emergency Medicine since 2008.
Yale University could not confirm when Petrone-Codrington’s employment ended. However, an article on the Yale Daily News reported that she was no longer employed by the university as of September 2021.