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Legal Ethics

Former Hospital General Counsel Charged with Embezzling $1.7M

Posted Jun 3, 2011 5:43 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The former general counsel of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has been charged with embezzling $1.7 million by creating fake companies and submitting phony invoices for expert witnesses and consulting services.

Roosevelt Hairston Jr. was charged on Thursday with mail fraud, money laundering and filing a false tax return, report the Legal Intelligencer, the Philadelphia Inquirer and an FBI press release.

Hairston was fired in February after an internal investigation found evidence of financial irregularities. He was reportedly earning $720,000 in 2009, according to a financial filing by the nonprofit. He was appointed general counsel about a year ago, but the alleged wrongdoing reaches back to other senior positions he held in which he coordinated medical malpractice claims and oversaw community and government relations.

Prosecutors said Hairston used the money to buy real estate, a luxury yacht, pricey cars and other luxury items. He was accused of using some of the cash to pay two mortgages on his 7,000 square foot home in Malvern, Pa.

Hairston’s lawyer, Howard Bruce Klein, told the Inquirer that his client would enter a guilty plea soon. "There is a whole other side to him that should be known," Klein said. "In addition to being a devoted husband and father, Roosevelt is the most committed community servant and activist I have ever seen for a private citizen. We hope that justice is tempered with mercy in the ultimate judicial resolution of this matter."

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