Former School of Medicine administrator pleads guilty to stealing $40 million from the University
Jamie Petrone-Codrington admitted to stealing $40 million in computer and electronic hardware from Yale School of Medicine.
Hedy Tung, Staff Photographer
A former Yale School of Medicine employee pleaded guilty on Monday to fraud and tax offenses after stealing $40 million in computer and electronic software from the school over a nearly ten-year period.
The former administrator, Jamie Petrone-Codrington, pleaded guilty in Hartford federal court, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. Arrested by criminal complaint on Sept. 3, 2021, Petrone-Codrington was released on a $1 million bond pending sentencing. In 2008, Petrone-Codrington was employed by the Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine and most recently served as the Director of Finance and Administration for the department. According to the DOJ press release, Petrone-Codrington had the authority to make and authorize purchases up to $10,000 for departmental needs. Beginning as early as 2013, Petrone-Codrington illegally purchased and resold the hardware using funds from the School of Medicine. In total, Petrone-Codrington caused a loss of approximately $40,504,200 to Yale and a loss of $6,416,618 to the U.S. Treasury.
“Petrone-Codrington pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. She will be sentenced at a later date and will pay restitution to Yale University and the IRS,” University spokesperson Karen Peart said. “Yale initially alerted authorities to evidence of suspected criminal behavior last year and fully cooperated throughout the investigation. 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.”
The DOJ alleged that as part of the scheme, Petrone-Codrington falsified Yale internal forms and electronic communications to claim that the hardware was for medical school needs, such as medical studies. She broke up the fraudulent purchases into orders below the $10,000 threshold that would necessitate additional approval. An out-of-state business, which resold the electronic equipment to customers, paid Petrone-Codrington by wiring funds into an account of a company in which she is a principal, Maziv Entertainment LLC.
According to the government court filing, Yale received an anonymous tip that Petrone-Codrington was “ordering suspiciously high volumes of computer equipment, some of which was placed into her personal vehicle.”
Petrone-Codrington used the proceeds of the sales of the stolen equipment for various personal expenses, including expensive cars, real estate and travel.
She has agreed to forfeit $560,421.14 that was seized from the Maziv Entertainment LLC bank account as well as a litany of expensive cars: a 2014 Mercedes-Benz G550, a 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sv Autobiography, a 2015 Cadillac Escalade Premium, a 2020 Mercedes Benz Model E450A, a 2016 Cadillac Escalade and a 2018 Dodge Charger. She also has agreed to liquidate three Connecticut properties that she owns or co-owns to help satisfy her restitution obligation. A property she owns in Georgia is also subject to seizure and liquidation.
Petrone-Codrington did not pay taxes on the money she received from selling the stolen equipment. She filed false federal tax returns for the 2013 through 2016 tax years in which she claimed as business expenses the costs of the stolen equipment, and failed to file any federal tax returns for the 2017 through 2020 tax years, according to the DOJ press release. This caused a loss of $6,416,618 to the U.S. Treasury.
According to the complaint, Petrone-Codrington provided a voluntary statement to law enforcement on or around Aug. 26. Among other things, she admitted to having devised and executed the scheme, and indicated that it had been going on for several years, possibly as many as 10. Petrone-Codrington estimated that approximately 90 percent of her computer-related purchases were fraudulent.
She pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of filing a false tax return, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of three years.
The lawyer representing Petrone-Codrington could not be located or identified by the News. Petrone-Codrington could not immediately be reached for comment.
Petrone-Codrington is scheduled to be sentenced by the U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on June 29, 2022.