Working for the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Donna Renee Gamble, age 43, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges credit card abuse.
According to United States Attorney Nahmias, and other information presented in court: GAMBLE was employed by Georgia Tech in Atlanta, where she was assigned to the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. As an employee of Georgia Tech, GAMBLE had access to one or more Georgia Tech credit cards, also known as Procurement Cards or “P-Cards,” which she was allowed to use for authorized official business purchases only. GAMBLE was prohibited from charging personal purchases on her Georgia Tech P-Cards. From April 2002 through April 2007, GAMBLE allegedly used her Georgia Tech P-Cards to purchase more than 3,800 personal items, at a total cost of more than $316,000. In an effort to conceal and disguise the personal nature of certain charges on her Georgia Tech P-Cards, GAMBLE allegedly created fake receipts, which she submitted to her supervisor, and made false entries in Georgia Tech’s accounting records. Grant money provided to Georgia Tech by the NSF was used to pay for GAMBLE’s personal purchases.
Now, as a white collar crime speaker, there are times when I have the feeling that a person might have gotten caught up in something that might have been unintended. However, in this case, it appears that there was clear thought in how the crime was committed.
Generally there are three components to any fraud: (1) need (or perceived need); (2) opportunity and (3) rationalization. Alleging to have purchased more than 3,800 items for personal use indicates that what might have started as need – grew! The opportunity was there – as often it is with ‘P-Cards’ in that it is difficult to have complete control (effective internal controls) when each person is given a card that is honored.
While most respect the responsibility that comes with such a card, there are always issues of fraud that seem to arise from those who get caught up in the opportunity for abuse. GAMBLE was on of several current and former university employees who have had their card usage scrutinized after an audit. What is astonishing in this case is the effort used to conceal the nature of the alleged fraud.
Gamble is charged with 22 counts of mail fraud and theft each of which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Stay tuned as I’ll report more later. Business ethics and white collar crime speaker, Chuck Gallagher, signing off…
Your comments welcome!