Yale Employee Pleads Guilty to Charges After Embezzling $40 Million from University for Luxury Purchases

A former Yale University Medical School administrator reportedly robbed the academic institution of millions worth of electronic equipment in an elaborate fraud scheme that spanned nearly 10 years.

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

42-year-old Jamie Petrone, a former administrator at Yale University’s School of Medicine, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and falsifying tax returns on Monday in Hartford, Connecticut federal court after using university funds to orchestrate a decade-long, multi-million dollar fraud scheme, the Department of Justice confirmed.

Petrone, who is originally from Lithia Springs, Georgia, began working for the Ivy League university in 2008 as part of the emergency medicine department, before reportedly initiating a money laundering scheme in 2013 that involved purchasing electronic equipment using the school’s funds and then reselling the items for personal profit.

The Yale Daily News reported that Petrone’s fraudulence deprived the university of millions of dollars, totaling $40,504,200, and ultimately causing a loss of $6,416,618 to the U.S. Treasury.

Prior to pleading guilty this week, Petrone had been released on a $1 million dollar bond and was awaiting sentencing after authorities arrested her on criminal complaint charges in September of 2021.

In its statement, the DOJ indicated that Petrone had been granted the jurisdiction to make and authorize necessary departmental payments of up to $10,000 in her role at the prestigious institution.

Additionally, NBC reported that in 2013, Petrone ordered copious amounts of electronic hardware such as iPads and Microsoft Surface Pros before reselling the items out-of-state in New York.

After reporting that the electronic equipment was needed for university-specific studies, Petrone allegedly fragmentized the purchases, keeping totals below the allotted $10,000 limit to avoid suspicion among school officials. Petrone reportedly proceeded to use the money gleaned from the resale of the equipment to indulge in purchases such as luxury cars, real estate, and vacations.

An anonymous source alerted Yale officials to Petrone’s “suspiciously high” volume of electronics in August of 2021, after which the scheme came to an end.

Social media users have pointed to the longevity of Petrone’s scheme, observing that it is indicative of a perceived tendency among elite universities to charge exorbitant tuition rates.