WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The former president of a private medical career college in Florida was arrested Dec. 31 on charges of grand theft, money laundering ad fraud after using the school's debit card to make personal purchases totaling more than $82,000, police said.
Brenda Lee Green used the debit card to buy everything from a pink Apple watch to multiple hotel stays in Los Angeles and New York City during her three year tenure at Health Career Institute in West Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Post reported.
School officials told the newspaper Green was fired in September 2017 on an unrelated matter.
A bookkeeper raised the first flags when she noticed Green's company debit card statements didn't come with the corresponding receipts for purchases. When told that Green kept the receipts in her office, the bookkeeper became suspicious and took the matter to Green's bosses on the board, investigators said.
Board members were still trying to track down the receipts when Green was fired. In Oct. 2017, board members called the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office and investigators tracked down the purchases.
The unauthorized spending included two hotel stays in California, a two-day car rental and plane tickets for herself, her husband and daughter. She also traveled to New York three times.
The investigation found Green bought an Apple watch, two laptops and software at Best Buy, and bought more than $15,700 in gift cards at Walmart and $7,100 more at Walgreens. She also purchased nearly $6,000 in Amazon gift cards as well as video games, toys, pet products, beauty supplies, musical instruments, jewelry, household items and auto accessories.
Investigators said Green often bought gift cards with a low-priced item to hide what they deemed to be "the proceeds of the organized fraud and grand theft."
Green was booked into the jail Tuesday where she was ordered held on $35,000 bond. She was released hours later.
Jail records didn't list a lawyer for her.