Alleged embezzler out on $100K bond
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Lisa Mack, the former Valley View Hospital employee accused of embezzling a quarter million dollars from the hospital and another employee, was released from jail on Monday after appearing in court.
“All I can say right now is, my client denies the allegations,” said her attorney, Bill Schubert of Glenwood Springs.
Schubert confirmed that Mack obtained the court’s permission to return to her home in Texas until the next hearing in her case, set for Dec. 7.
Mack, 42, was arrested at 5 a.m. Monday when she turned herself in at the Garfield County Jail.
According to a jail employee, she was released at 4:45 p.m. Monday, after being advised in court of the charges against her and posting a bond of $100,000 through local bail bondsman Doug Britten.
Officials at Valley View Hospital (VVH) have declined to say much about the allegations against Mack.
“We are cooperating fully with law enforcement in the investigation,” said VVH community relations director Alice Sundeen on Tuesday.
“We did a lot of the investigation ourselves,” said hospital CEO Gary Brewer. That included a forensic audit of hospital finances to track down Mack’s alleged illicit financial dealings.
Police have charged Mack, 42, who worked in the hospital’s financial department, with four felony counts of theft, each count covering a period of six months for a total of two years.
If convicted, Mack faces a possible maximum prison term of 96 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000.
Police allege that Mack stole roughly $226,000 from the hospital and from Mack’s daughter-in-law, Donna Michelle Sandel, whom Mack hired to work at the hospital.
Sandel, who is married to Mack’s stepson, Colin Mack, first worked for the hospital as a registrar, in the patient registration department, in 2008, according to an affidavit prepared by the Glenwood Springs Police Department.
The affidavit states that Sandel returned to Texas after two months to take another job there.
Returning to Valley View in early 2009, Sandel worked as a contract consultant for the hospital from February 2009 to February 2011.
During that time, according to Sandel’s statements to police, her rate of pay rose from $2,750 per week initially to $3,500 per week by 2011.
Her contracts, renewed periodically, were for the position of interim business management consultant, a job that involved work in the registration department and other departments.
Mack told police she hired Sandel as a “superstar” capable of filling in at multiple jobs when other employees took leave.
But Sandel told police that she “had minimal training and experience in this field and has completed two online college classes,” according to the affidavit, which was filed with the court as part of a request for an arrest warrant.
According to the affidavit, Sandel said that shortly after she started her contract employment, Mack told her she was being overpaid, and instructed Sandel to cash her paychecks and give half the cash from each check to Mack.
Mack allegedly told Sandel that the money would be returned to the hospital, but police say that never happened.
Sundeen declined to speculate about how a relatively untrained registrar, who left for a job in another state in 2008, was hired back a year later and paid at such a high contract rate.
“Because it is a personnel matter, that’s all we’re going to say,” Sundeen said.
Brewer, too, declined to discuss the issue. “All of this will come out in the court proceedings. Let’s let it go ahead and play out.”
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