Tuesday, January 7, 1997
Suspect was employed by School of Dentistry; thought to have stolen some $50,000.
After five years of alleged embezzlement of funds from the UCLA School of Dentistry, a former school official was arrested last month in connection with the loss.
Joseph Castano, the former manager of the UCLA School of Dentistry’s Faculty Group Dental Practice, was arrested Dec. 19 on a warrant issued by the UCLA police department connecting him with embezzled funds totalling $50,600.
Charged with one count of grand theft and a second count of embezzlement, Castano was released on $100,000 bail shortly after the arrest. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 18.
The suspect, who was also a part-time law student, was placed on investigatory leave last February after a paper trail allegedly charged his spouse’s dental surgery to the school. Dental school
officials also allege that Castano charged law school textbooks to the school as well. Castano was fired from his position on March 29.
Following the discovery, internal auditors for the school were alerted to the situation and launched an in-depth investigation.
Auditors reported their findings to the police after completing the investigation last August.
According to university police, Castano allegedly submitted refund invoices for people who were never patients of the school or for patients of the school who were not due refunds.
Castano then allegedly filtered those funds out among family and friends, eventually landing them back in his own hands for personal use, police said. UCLA and dentistry school officials will seek reparation of the lost funds.
Officials said that the School of Dentistry takes the management of public funds very seriously and will charge Castano to the fullest extent of the law.
“There is no excuse for betraying the public trust,” said school Dean Rory Hume in a statement on the case. “The School of Dentistry takes very seriously its role to ensure responsible employee behavior,” he added.
Shortly after the allegations, the school implemented several changes in its accounting and management systems. All financial transactions are now electronically monitored and responsibility for cash management, refund approval and accounting are now distinct jobs that will belong to separate individuals.
Dentistry administrators are now in the process of restructuring the school manager’s job description and will hire an accounting manager for the new position.
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Content retrieved from http://dailybruin.com/1997/01/06/student-charged-with-fraud/