Source of report copies unknown

Published 1:39 am Friday, October 29, 2010

Staff Writer

Leaders in the local medical community said they don’t know who has been randomly distributing copies of what appears to be a report of an audit of the disbanded Beaufort County Hospital Foundation.
Nor do they know the motivation behind the person or persons who have distributed copies of the report at several businesses and homes in downtown Washington and in the Smallwood residential community in recent days.
“That is a matter that pertains to the hospital foundation,” said Alice Mills Sadler, chairwoman of the Beaufort Regional Health System Board of Commissioners. “We do not know who has been distributing it or what their motivation is.”
Former members of the foundation’s board said that the report appears to be authentic and they do not know who is responsible for its distribution.
Copies of the 18-page document, titled “Beaufort County Hospital Foundation Report of Preliminary Phase I Findings and Recommendations,” have appeared on the doorsteps of several local businesses and homes in the past two weeks.
They have been secured in rubber bands, much like newspapers.
A copy of the report was brought to the Washington Daily News after it was found in front of a local business. A second copy of the report was found in a street in Smallwood.
The report, marked confidential, apparently details the findings of an investigation by Deloite Financial Advisory Services, the firm hired by the foundation as part of an investigation into the suspected embezzlement of funds by a former foundation employee.
It also includes two pages of apparently handwritten notes attached to it.
At the time of the Deloite audit, the foundation was the fundraising arm of the hospital.
In August 2008, Jeanne W. Jones was convicted of felony embezzlement from the foundation. She received a sentence of six to eight months in jail, but that sentence was suspended. As part of her sentence, Jones was placed on supervised probation and ordered to repay the foundation $97,644.70. That amount included the money embezzled and $10,000, a fourth of the cost of a forensic audit conducted in the case.
An investigation into Jones’ actions was reported at the time to have begun in 2007 after the alleged embezzlement was reported by the foundation.
In 1997, the year Jones started working at the hospital, she was assigned the task of administering the financial accounts of the foundation, according to reports at the time of her trial.
Members of the former foundation’s board said they were satisfied with the audit’s findings at the time it was made and that it adequately accounted for the missing funds.
To date, no one has claimed responsibility for distributing copies of the report.