A woman who worked as an administrator at Yale University lived the high life as she cheated the school out of more than $40 million. For more than ten years, 42-year-old Jamie Petrone enjoyed three homes in Connecticut, real estate in Georgia, and many luxury cars (two Mercedes-Benz, two Cadillac Escalades, a Range Rover, and more) while she sold stolen electronics — including computers, iPads, and Microsoft Surface Pros — from Yale University's School of Medicine.
On Monday she pleaded guilty in federal court to "two counts of wire fraud and a tax offense for her role in the plot," according to NPR.
Petrone's ploy started as far back as 2013 and continued well into 2021 while she worked at the university, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut.
Until recently, her role was the director of finance and administration for the Department of Emergency Medicine at Yale. As part of this job, Petrone had the authority to make and authorize certain purchases for the department — as long as the amount was below $10,000.
Starting in 2013, Petrone would order, or have a member of her staff order, computers and other electronics, which totaled to thousands of items over the years, from Yale vendors using the Yale School of Medicine's money. She would then arrange to ship the stolen hardware, whose costs amounted to millions of dollars, to a business in New York, in exchange for money once the electronics were resold. …
Her scheme continued successfully until August 2021, when Yale officials received an anonymous tip that Petrone was ordering "suspiciously high volumes of computer equipment," court records state. These orders were made more suspicious by the fact that Petrone was putting some of the packages in her own car.
Later that month, Yale auditors dug into Petrone's purchase orders and her emails, among other things — eventually turning over their findings to law enforcement.
At the time of her guilty plea, she agreed to forfeit the luxury vehicles as well as three homes in Connecticut. A property she owns in Georgia may also be seized.
So far Petrone has agreed to turn over at more than $560,000 stole — a mere pittance compared to the approximately $40,504,200 she swindled from the university.