St. Thomas employee sentenced for defrauding school

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 28, 2009 - 7:47 PM

Former St. Thomas employee sentenced for fraud.

A former University of St. Thomas employee was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 18 months in prison for defrauding the St. Paul college out of more than $120,000.

Gayle J. Schmidt, 61, of New Brighton, had pleaded guilty to wire fraud and unauthorized access to a protected computer. She also was ordered to pay $178,432.03 in restitution.

According to the plea agreement, Schmidt admitted that from October 2000 through February 2007 she embezzled more than $120,000 from the university, where she worked in the accounting department of its Management Center, processing payments for people enrolled in seminars conducted by the school.

Schmidt admitted using the university's Internet-based credit card processing system to transfer funds from university bank accounts to her own credit card accounts. Schmidt made more than 120 separate transfers, totaling about $122,000, to four credit card accounts in her name.

University officials discovered the theft, conducted an internal investigation and turned over the documentation to authorities, said Mark Vangsgard, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer for St. Thomas. "We consider this a serious crime," he had said.

Vangsgard said that since discovering the theft, St. Thomas has reviewed and modified its credit-card processing systems.

PAUL WALSH

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