The former president of a private medical career college in West Palm Beach, FL, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly using the school’s debit card to pay for personal shopping totaling more than $82,000.
Brenda Lee Green was charged with grand theft, organized fraud, and money laundering. She was booked into jail and was released hours later on $35,000 bond. The press did not name an attorney for her.
According to the arrest report, the accused woman was president of the Health Career Institute, or HCI College, for almost three years. The school offers professional training and certification to students who want to go into emergency service medical careers. Its main campus is on 1764 N. Congress Avenue in West Palm Beach. The college also has a campus in Fort Lauderdale.
During her three-year tenure, the woman is accused of using the school’s debit card to pay for everything from HP laptops to multiple hotel stays in New York City and Los Angeles. A large chunk of the money was allegedly spent on gift cards.
A bookkeeper purportedly hired in July 2017 was the first to notice that her company debit card statements weren’t attached with receipts. When the bookkeeper was told the defendant kept the receipts in her office, she became suspicious and informed the school board, the arrest report states.
The board was still trying to acquire the receipts from the defendant when she was fired in September 2017 for reasons unrelated to the investigation, sources indicate. School officials were able to find a box full of receipts, but the collection was allegedly incomplete and contained several receipts for personal items.
The school informed the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office about the defendant’s actions in October 2017. They enlisted the help of police to track down every purchase the accused had allegedly made and sorted out the ones unrelated to official school business.
The defendant unauthorized spending reportedly included two hotel stays in Los Angeles, a car rental for one of those stays, and plane tickets from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale for her, her husband, and her daughter. She purportedly traveled to New York three times and used the company card to book hotel stays via Expedia on each occasion.
She also purportedly shopped and bought gift cards wherever she went. Her alleged purchases include a pink Apple watch, two HP laptops, a purple water bottle, and software. She spent almost $6,000 on Amazon gift cards and also bought toys, beauty supplies, video games, jewelry, household items, musical instruments, and auto accessories—all using her name and home address, investigators said.
The accused allegedly spent over $82,000 for personal expenses unrelated to her official duties, and almost half of that amount was spent on gift cards. She would often buy the cards with a low-priced item like a bottle of water in order to hide “the proceeds of organized fraud and grand theft,” according to arrest report.
The arrest report was filed in August 2019 and Green was arrested on December 31.
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