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Former Vice President with Prism Career Institute Pleads Guilty to Stealing More Than $400,000 from Employer

U.S. Attorney’s Office September 20, 2012
  • District of New Jersey (856) 757-5026

CAMDEN, NJ—A former vice president of operations at Prism Career Institute, a private, post-secondary educational institution with campuses in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, admitted today that she stole more than $400,000 from her employer between 2008 and 2011, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Diane Bowler, 53, of Sewell, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb in Camden federal court to embezzling, stealing, and obtaining by fraud money belonging to Prism Career Institute, which receives federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Diane Bowler was a regional vice president of operation at Prism, authorized to make purchases on behalf of Prism with her personal credit cards and then submit the receipts of these purchases to Prism for reimbursement. Bowler admitted that she stole more than $400,000 from Prism by submitting fraudulent reimbursement requests for purchases of supplies, furniture, equipment, and other items that were never received by Prism. She falsified invoices by cutting and pasting new dates and invoice numbers onto prior receipts for purchases and by fraudulently creating invoices for certain vendors with which Prism no longer did business. Bowler would forge the CEO of Prism’s signature on reimbursement checks and in some instances signed the checks herself before depositing the money into her personal bank account.

The charge of theft from programs receiving federal funds to which Bowler pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Judge Bumb scheduled sentencing for January 7, 2013.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s Resident Agency in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George C. Venizelos; and special agents of the Department of Education-Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Hickey, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Skahill of the Special Prosecutions Division in Camden.

Defense counsel: Richard Sparaco Esq., Cherry Hill, New Jersey

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