Former Nonprofit Employee Pleads Guilty To $5.3 Million Theft

The owner of a shop that donated wedding gowns to military wives pleaded guilty today to stealing more than $5.3 million from a D.C.-based charity that represents accredited medical schools and major teaching hospitals.

Ephonia Green, 44, has long publicized the donations made from her part-time business in Upper Marlboro, Md., saying in interviews that she has given away 275 ensembles.  According to federal court records obtained by The Washington Post, prosecutors allege that while working as an administrative assistant for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), where she made $56,000 annually, she embezzled over $5.3 million over a 12-year period.

Court documents allege that $1.4 million of the stolen funds came from 74 checks made out to Green’s bridal business, Coture Miss Bridal & Formal. Prosecutors further contend that Green was able to keep the theft going by registering company trade names and opening bank accounts in business names that closely resembled those of legitimate vendors to the association. The alleged plot was only discovered after a bank withheld payment on a $113,000 check and notified AAMC.

“Words cannot adequately express the sense of betrayal we have felt since we learned of Ms. Green’s long-concealed scheme. As an organization guided by honesty and integrity, we are truly stunned that Ms. Green, a long-time, trusted employee, embezzled more than $5.3 million over a 12-year period,” said Darrel G. Kirch, president and CEO of AAMC, in a press release posted on the organization’s website.

Kirch went on to say that while the loss was substantial, the affect was lessened since it occurred over a number of years. In addition, the organization has filed a claim with is insurance provider and expects to recover a “significant portion of the loss.”

Founded in 1957, AAMC generated $122.56 million in revenue according to its 2012 Form 990. The majority of those funds — $117.32 million — came via program service revenue.

Photo credit: Greg Dohler/The Gazette