A former Yale School of Medicine employee was sentenced to nine years in prison after being charged with stealing $40 million from the universitywhich she used to finance a lavish lifestyle, according to federal officials.
Jamie Petrone, 43, pleaded guilty in March to charges of wire fraud and filing a false tax return, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut. She was sentenced on October 13 in Hartford, Connecticut.
An attorney for Petrone did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News on Oct. 13.
But after Petrone pleaded guilty, her attorney told The Washington Post that “Ms. Petron has accepted the responsibility for his actions and repents. Now she is looking forward to the sentencing and the repair of the damage done.”
Petrone had worked in the medical school’s finance department since about 2008, and one of her responsibilities was authorizing purchases of less than $10,000, the release said.
Around 2013, it began ordering millions of dollars worth of electronics, making sure all purchases were under $10,000 so no additional approvals were ever required, the release said.
Petrone then secretly arranged to sell the equipment to another business, which transferred the funds to its account, the release said.
She used the money to purchase a collection of luxury cars, including two Mercedes-Benzes, two Cadillacs, a Land Rover and a Dodge Charger, among other items, the release said.
“For nearly a decade, Jamie Petrone lived a life that most can’t even imagine,” prosecutor David Novick wrote in a memo to the court, according to the Hartford Courant. “She paid cash for several houses in Connecticut and Georgia. She drove expensive cars, including a Range Rover worth more than $100,000, and gave them away to friends and family. She spent millions on lavish vacations for yourself and others, luxury personal items, VIP concert tickets and spa treatments.”
The university management was later alerted to this scheme through anonymous tip, according to the New Haven Register. The unnamed person noted that a “suspiciously large” number of electronics had been ordered from Petrona, which was seen carrying them in her car, the agency said, citing court documents.
According to the release, Petrone was arrested in September 2021.
After the sentencing, a Yale spokesperson told The Washington Post that 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 been working to identify and correct gaps in its internal financial controls,” a spokesperson told the publication.
McClatchy News reached out to Yale University on Oct. 13 for further comment and is awaiting a response.