Crime

Former St. Luke’s employee sent to jail, ordered to repay stolen $86,000.

Keri Ann Rodgers hatched three different schemes to embezzle $85,876 over a five-year period from St. Luke’s in Boise, where she worked as an administrative assistant.

First, Rodgers, now 42, created phony invoices for cleaning and demonstration services at St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute, according to court testimony. She then forged a supervisor’s signature to allow payments to be made to K.A.R. Property Management, a company she owned.

Next, she falsified mileage reimbursement reports. Rodgers reported taking work trips to medical conferences and to various St. Luke’s campuses that auditors later determined she did not take. She also created fake reservations for airline flights and hotel rooms for out-of-state conferences. She would obtain invoices for those expenses and later cancel the reservations, but submit the invoices for reimbursement.

Thirdly, she photocopied legitimate receipts submitted by staff doctors and other hospital employees who went to dinner with out-of-town physicians being recruited by the hospital, and submitted them for reimbursement for herself even though she hadn’t attended the dinners.

The thefts took place between July 2009 and March 2014, when Rodgers was arrested and charged with grand theft and forgery.

“It was our own internal controls that detected the fraud,” David Ensunsa, a spokesman for St. Luke’s, said Friday. “We performed a thorough internal investigation and turned all that information over to the prosecutor’s office.”

For many years, the hospital has operated an anonymous tip line for employees to report suspicious activity, Ensunsa said. Auditors follow up on the tips to see if any wrongdoing took place.

Rodgers pleaded guilty to grand theft and was sentenced in January to four to 14 years in prison. The forgery charge was dismissed in exchange for her guilty plea.

All but a year of the sentence was suspended by 4th District Judge Richard Greenwood, who ordered that the year be served in the Ada County Jail. Rodgers also is allowed to be released during the day to work at a job she obtained after being fired from St. Luke’s.

If Rodgers abides by the conditions of her 14-year probation sentence and pays back the money to the hospital, Greenwood said he would consider ending her probation early.

As part of her plea arrangement, Rodgers also agreed to repay $30,000 of the restitution amount before appearing in court for sentencing. She made that payment after withdrawing money from a retirement account.

Auditor Dee Cheney told Greenwood that his internal audit team spent 250 hours investigating the thefts. Cheney said there was suspicious activity going back to 2006, but incidents before 2009 could not be pursued criminally or civilly because of the statute of limitations.

Deputy Ada County Prosecutor Jonathan Medema said Rodgers had an outgoing personality and that people liked her.

“Every day she came to work and smiled and got people to like her and trust her. All the while, she was ripping them off,” Medema said.

After Rodgers was fired by St. Luke’s, she got another job without mentioning to her new employer that she had been dismissed, he said.

Rodgers told Greenwood she would never commit a crime again. She said she never wants to “cause this much hurt and pain” again to anyone.

“I’m very sorry for what I’ve done. I am very sorry to St. Luke’s,” she said. “I am doing everything within my power to make myself better, to make my community better.”

As part of her sentence, Rodgers will not be allowed to work in a position where she handles money. Greenwood also ordered her to provide a statement in writing to any future employers that she was guilty of grand theft.

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