Who was watching the money?

Published 5:44 pm Thursday, August 21, 2008

By Staff
Defendant’s attorney quizzed the court
Newsroom Manager
Beaufort County Hospital Foundation admitted-embezzler Jeanne Jones’ attorney Wayland J. Sermons Jr. asked the court if there was any policing of the money at the foundation during his client’s watch of the foundation.
Jones pleaded guilty Tuesday in Beaufort County Superior Court of taking $87,644.70 from the foundation during the period from August 2000 to February 2006, part of her almost nine-year employment at the hospital.
The Beaufort County Hospital Foundation is the fund-raising arm of the Beaufort County Hospital.
Jones was ordered by Judge Alma Hinton to pay back the money she took from the foundation and pay for $10,000 of a $39,886 external forensic audit cost the foundation incurred to find out how much money Jones had taken from the foundation.
Lynn Lewis, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Beaufort County Hospital Foundation said Wednesday that the foundation paid for the balance ($29,886) of the external audit cost.
Jones avoided incarceration in the N.C. Department of Correction when Hinton, suspended a six- to eight-month prison sentence for Jones felony embezzlement to five years of probation.
In court, Sermons asked Washington Police Department Detective Jerry Davis if anyone was watching what Jones was doing while she was overseeing the foundation operation on her own, alone.
Davis reported to the court that Jones would write checks on the foundation, endorse them, cash them and pay for personal bills.
Sermons asked Davis if Jones ever used deception in her embezzlement practice.
Sermons asked Davis if Davis found any audit of the foundation during Davis’ investigation of Jones.
Sermons asked Davis if there was a dual-signature policy for financial transactions during Jones’ tenure working with the foundation.
In court, Sermons asked Frank Belote, vice chairman of the foundation, whether there was an auditing policy for the foundation by the Beaufort County Hospital.
Belote said foundation board members received quarterly financial statements from Jones at the foundation’s quarterly meetings.
Davis said Jones juggled numbers between accounts to cover for her embezzlement actions. He said Jones found this practice more difficult as she continued to take money from the foundation.
After testimony, Sermons summarized by telling the court it was evident that there was no policing of Jones while she was in charge of the foundation’s daily operations.
Hospital foundation responds to embezzlement case outcome
The following statement was released Wednesday by the Board of Trustees of the Beaufort County Hospital Foundation.