Wedding Planner Admits to Ripping Off Nonprofit

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A wedding planner pleaded guilty to federal charges Monday related to her $5.1 million embezzlement from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
     Ephonia Green, 44, of Upper Marlboro, Md., worked for the nonprofit association as an administrative assistant from Jan. 5, 1998, through July 15, 2013.
     An umbrella group for all accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada, the Washington, D.C.-based group is responsible for administering the Medical College Admission Test, more commonly known as the MCAT.
     In addition to processing invoices from the association’s vendors, Green owned a Maryland bridal shop she dubbed Fabulous Concepts Inc., or FCI.
     “From July 15, 2005, through July 1, 2013, Green created and submitted false invoices to the Association of American Medical Colleges in the name of three entities – The Brookings Institution, FCI, and the University Health System Consortium, also known as UHC,” federal prosecutors said in a statement Monday. “In doing so, she was seeking payment for services that were never provided and without the association’s knowledge that Green would be the actual recipient of the payments. “
     Green was not affiliated with either the Brookings Institution, a D.C.-based private, nonprofit policy organization, or UHC, an alliance of academic medical centers and hospitals.
     Prosecutors said she obtained the money that she directed to those organizations by registering similar trade names with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, and then opening bank accounts in those names.
     The scheme siphoned $5.1 million from the nonprofit, but prosecutors say that the fraud never touched its federal program funds.
     Green pleaded guilty Monday in D.C. to one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of engaging in illegal monetary transactions.
     U.S. Beryl Howell scheduled sentencing for Feb. 28, 2014.
     Federal sentencing guidelines call for Green to spend up to 51 months in prison. She must also submit to $5.1 million in criminal forfeiture and restitution.

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