Former UAB Hospital Food Services Employee Charged with Stealing $1 million in Cash Kept for Cashier Change
BIRMINGHAM – Federal prosecutors today charged a former employee in the Hospital Food and Nutrition Services Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with stealing more than $1 million over about six years from a cash room she oversaw, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger C. Stanton.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged KYEJUANA AVERY, 34, of Birmingham, with one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. Prosecutors filed the charge, along with a plea agreement with Avery, in U.S. District Court. According to that agreement, Avery will plead guilty to the charge and pay restitution to UAB in an amount to be determined at sentencing.
Avery worked as a financial account representative at UAB in the Hospital Food and Nutrition Services Department between 2007 and 2013. That department sells food and beverages at locations throughout University Hospital. The department has a bank account, the Change Fund Account, to enable cashiers to exchange high denomination dollar bills for small bills and coins so they could provide change to customers, according to Avery’s plea agreement.
The plea agreement outlines Avery’s charged theft between 2008 and 2013 as follows:
Avery was responsible for the “Cash Room” where the safe containing money for change was kept. As a financial account representative, Avery was responsible for making change for cashiers; requesting change from the bank in the form of “change orders,” or withdrawals; repaying those change orders with “change payments,” or deposits; and keeping a balance of change available in the Cash Room for cashiers.
In December 2013, the Food and Nutrition Services Department counted cash on hand in the Cash Room and found about $14,000 missing. A subsequent UAB audit of the department found $1.1 million in withdrawals between 2008 and December 2013 that were never repaid through deposits.
Avery admitted to the FBI that she began periodically taking cash from the safe in 2008, usually about $800 to $900 at a time, and continued doing so for six years.
The maximum penalty for theft concerning programs receiving federal funds is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI, with assistance from the UAB Police Department, investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Beardsley Mark is prosecuting.