No. 9 news story of 2011: Valley View finance staffer arrested in alleged embezzlement scheme
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A former Valley View Hospital finance department staffer was arrested Nov. 28 and charged with stealing more than a quarter of a million dollars from the hospital and from another employee over a two-year period.
Lisa Mack, 42, was arrested at 5 a.m. that morning at the Garfield County Jail. She had driven from Texas, where she was living, to turn herself in.
Mack was released late on Nov. 28, after appearing in court and posting a bond of $100,000 through local bail bondsman Doug Britten. She is being represented by Glenwood Springs attorney Bill Schubert.
“My client denies the allegations,” Schubert stated in an advisement hearing held the day of her arrest in Garfield District Court.
According to the Glenwood Springs Police Department, Mack stole more than $178,000 from the hospital and at least $47,600 from her daughter-in-law, Donna Michelle Sandel, who worked at the hospital as a contract consultant from February 2009 to February 2011.
Mack told police she hired Sandel, 25, who also was from Texas, as a “superstar” capable of filling in at multiple jobs when other employees took leave.
According to court documents, Sandel was initially paid $2,750 per week as a business management consultant. Her pay rose to $3,600 per week before she left the hospital.
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. Sandel also reported that she would occasionally give Mack $1,000 to $2,000 in cash, in order that Mack could pay Sandel’s income taxes.
Sandel told police she received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service on Feb. 14, 2011, informing her that she owed more than $31,000 for her 2009 taxes. On Feb. 23, Sandel went to police.
To investigate the case, Glenwood Springs police detectives worked with Valley View Hospital officials. The hospital paid for a forensic audit to trace the flow of stolen money.
Mack, the only person charged in the case, faces a possible maximum prison term of 96 years if convicted.
She has yet to file a formal plea in response to the charges. Her next court date is Feb. 14, 2012.
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