Yale Daily News

A former administrator at the Yale School of Medicine was charged with fraud and money laundering after stealing up to $30 million from the school in an elaborate scheme of purchasing and reselling computer hardware.

Jamie Petrone-Codrington, who most recently served as the director of finance and administration for Yale’s Department of Emergency Medicine, orchestrated an eight-year money laundering scheme to steal computer hardware from the School of Medicine. She started working for Yale in 2008 and, at most, five years later began to illegally purchase and resell the hardware using funds from the School of Medicine. University spokesperson Karen Peart said that Petrone-Codrington is no longer employed at Yale.

Petrone-Codrington is accused of stealing up to $30 million through thousands of computer hardware orders, according to an FBI affidavit unsealed on Friday and obtained by the Hartford Courant. Since January, Petrone-Codrington has ordered 8,000 iPads and Surface Pro tablets, as well as $2.1 million in other computer equipment this past summer. 

“Yale alerted federal law enforcement authorities to evidence of criminal behavior and has cooperated fully with their investigation,” Peart wrote in an email to the News. “Yale is grateful for the swift action of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

The U.S. Department of Justice released a public statement on Sept. 3 stating that Petrone-Codrington was charged with a federal criminal complaint. Petrone-Codrington appeared before a judge in New Haven on Friday and was released on a $1 million bond. According to the Hartford Courant, she turned herself in to authorities on Aug. 26, one day after federal prosecutors and the FBI opened an investigation.

According to the statement, Petrone-Codrington faces up to 20 years in prison for mail fraud, another 20 for wire fraud and 10 more years for money laundering charges.

Petrone-Codrington could not be reached for comment. The News could not locate a lawyer representing her.

The investigation was led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Haven division and started on Aug. 25 when Yale reported the issue to authorities. The Yale Police Department is also assisting the FBI with the investigation.

The accused sent the hardware to an out-of-state company, which resold it and wired the funds to a company of which she serves as a principal, the Department of Justice release explained. Petrone-Codrington could then pocket the money. She split the purchases into orders below $10,000 so they did not require additional approval by her supervisors.

The DOJ further alleged that she included false information on Yale’s internal forms, claiming that the hardware would be used for specific medical studies or other school needs. She also directed others to order the equipment for her, the release continued.

Kate Stith, a professor at the Yale Law School, explained that it is currently difficult to gauge what sentence Petrone-Codrington might receive. The two most significant factors in sentencing will be the total monetary amount of the fraud and whether Petrone-Codrington has a criminal history, Stith explained.

“It appears that Petrone-Codrington was at the top of the hierarchy of the kickback scheme, in which case she probably is not going to be able to get a sentence reduction by cooperating in the prosecution of other, bigger fish,” Stith wrote in an email to the News. “Even so, there is no reason to think she’ll necessarily receive the maximum sentence.”

Stith, who previously worked as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said that she prosecuted many similar cases of money laundering and mail and wire fraud, though she could not recall one on such a large scale because of how long Petrone-Codrington’s scheme went undetected.

“One naturally asks: Where were Yale’s accountants and compliance officers?” Stith wrote to the News.

Peart explained that Yale is currently working to “identify and correct gaps in its internal financial controls.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney David E. Novick is prosecuting Petrone-Codrington’s case.

Rose Horowitch covers Woodbridge Hall. She previously covered sustainability and the University's COVID-19 response. She is a sophomore in Davenport College majoring in history.
Beatriz Horta is a staff reporter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil covering the School of Medicine, School of Nursing and medical research. She's sophomore in Trumbull College majoring in psychology and MCDB.