A former Cooper Hospital-University Medical Center executive has admitted embezzling about $50,000, which he used to pay for improvements on his house.
Robert Schmid Jr., 36, becomes the fifth person to plead guilty in a federal probe into financial dealings at the Camden, N.J., hospital, now called Cooper Health System. Schmid was vice president of finance for Cooper Healthcare Services, the for-profit division of the hospital.
In federal court in Camden, Schmid acknowledged defrauding the hospital in 1992 and 1993. He pleaded guilty to embezzlement and fraud. Schmid said he billed the hospital for $14,500 worth of improvements to his Gloucester County home, including an 18-by-48-foot deck. He also admitted stealing about $35,000 through illegal bookkeeping maneuvers.
Under the plea agreement, Schmid faces a maximum 20-year prison term and may have to pay restitution. He is free on $10,000 bond pending sentencing Dec. 20 before U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Rodriguez.
Three other executives and a partner also have pleaded guilty for their roles in a scheme that prosecutors said defrauded more than $4 million from the hospital.
The money was bilked from the hospital through a network of false companies, phony invoices and money shifting, investigators said. The millions were stolen by the hospital's top financial officer, one of his aides and an outside businessman.
Authorities said the money was spent on girlfriends, cars, boats, racehorses and houses. The executives, John M. Sullivan, 47, P. John Lashkevich, 35, and businessman John H. Crispo Jr. all pleaded guilty for their roles. Crispo died of natural causes in June 1995 at the age of 57.