A former University of Wisconsin Housing employee has been accused of defrauding the university of more than $100,000 throughout the past two years, according to a UW news release Thursday.
While the employee’s identity remains anonymous, University of Wisconsin spokesman Greg Bump said the individual served as a purchasing manager within the division of University Housing.
Bump said the crime was discovered because of the “diligence” of UH employees in recognizing irregularities in the individual’s purchasing behavior in early 2017. UH reported it to the University of Wisconsin Police Department shortly thereafter, who then opened an investigation into the employee.
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According to the news release, UWPD has recommended multiple felony charges against the individual to the Dane County District Attorney’s office. The individual’s identity will be kept anonymous until a charging decision is made.
Jeff Novak, director of UW Housing and Dining, said the individual’s actions are “deeply concerning,” and lamented how they reflect on other UH employees.
“The behavior in this case is deeply concerning to us and is not representative of the Housing Division and its employees. Any abuse of the resources entrusted to us by our residents, guests and the university cannot be tolerated,” Novak said. “It’s unfortunate that the actions of one individual will reflect poorly on the rest of our employees, who are conscientious, hardworking and care deeply about this university.”
Going forward, Bump said UH has taken multiple steps to address the issue and ensure it does not happen again. Since the incident, UH and the Division of Business Services hired a third-party auditor to review all business practices and established new financial controls.
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Many of these changes, Bump said, have been in effect for more than six months. All changes in operation have been made with the intention of preventing future fraud from UH employees.
“Housing has re-assigned work to ensure better segregation of duties, restricted system access where appropriate, modified certain computer programs and improved processes related to purchasing and refund receipt,” Bump said. “Many of these changes have been in place for six months or more now.”
Bump said additional control improvements are “being considered.”
It is unclear when or if the Dane County District Attorney’s office will proceed with charging and trying the individual on criminal offenses.