Jamie Petrone, a former Yale administrator, plead guilty this week to defrauding the university of over $40 million over the course of eight years. The employee resold tech equipment and electronics purchased with school funds and used the stolen $40 million “for various personal expenses, including expensive cars, real estate and travel,” according to court documents.
Petrone, 42, was Yale’s director of finance and the lead administrator at the medical school’s department of emergency medicine, according to the university. The Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that she filed false tax returns between 2013 and 2016 claiming the stolen tech equipment as business expenses. She has not filed a yearly tax return since 2016 and cost the US Treasury nearly $6 million.
The school administrator reportedly owned three properties in Connecticut, and had been an employee at Yale University since 1999. Her tenure ended in September 2021, when she was arrested on counts of wire fraud and filing false tax returns.
Jamie Petrone faces up to 23 years in prison for the scheme and is currently out on a $1 million bail. Pleading guilty this week, her sentencing is scheduled for June 2022.
Frank Riccio, her attorney, told CNN that his client has “accepted responsibility for her actions and is remorseful.”
“She now looks forward towards sentencing,” he stated, “and repairing some of the damage that has been caused.”
The court has ordered Petrone to pay the full restitution of $40.5 million back to the university and more than $6 million back to the Internal Revenue Service in unpaid taxes.
In the FBI investigation, they found a fleet of luxury cars that she purchased, including two Mercedes Benzes, two Cadillac Escalades, a Range Rover and a Dodge Charger. She also owns property in Georgia, which may be seized.
“Approximately 90% of her computer-related purchases were fraudulent,” the FBI reported.
After a tip from Yale back in August 2021, the FBI uncovered that Jamie Petrone ordered Microsoft Surface Pro tablet computers with the medical university school’s funds and then sold them to a third-party business. That unnamed business would then direct payment back to a shell company titled Maziv Entertainment LLC, which was owned by Petrone.
In her role at the university, she was authorized to make purchases of up to $10,000 at one time, The Washington Post reported. She also told other members of her staff to order thousands of electronics, which the FBI and Yale University are investigating to determine how many of those purchases were illegitimate. By splitting up the purchases among multiple employees, she was able to rack up millions in purchased electronics.
Petrone’s wife, Jameys Codrington, 44, displayed a lot of their recently acquired wealth on his Instagram page, where he posed next to luxury cars and their multiple Connecticut homes. They also took photos together enjoying dinner at Gucci Garden in Florence, Italy, back in July 2021.
Codrington has not been charged in connection with his wife’s scheme, and neither have any of her employees who were ordered to purchase massive orders of Microsoft tablets.
“Yale initially alerted authorities to evidence of suspected criminal behavior last year and fully cooperated throughout the investigation,” a spokesperson from the university stated. “The university thanks local law enforcement, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their handling of the case. Since the incident, Yale has worked to identify and correct gaps in its internal financial controls.”