Millions stolen from health fund spent at adult website

Aug 13, 2021, 7:07 PM | Updated: Aug 14, 2021, 7:37 am

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A former accounts manager for a nonprofit affiliated with the University of South Florida’s medical school has pleaded guilty to embezzling almost $13 million, spending most of it at an adult website with some of it coming back to him.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Ralph Puglisi, 59, is facing up to 20 years in prison under the deal, which was recently filed in Tampa’s federal court. Puglisi had worked for the University Medical Service Association, which provides staffing and support for USF Health and other medical providers in the Tampa Bay area.

According to court documents, Puglisi spent almost $12 million at an adult website that allows users to subscribe to channels belonging to specific women, who disrobe and engage in sex acts on live video.

An investigation showed that Puglisi subscribed to a channel belonging to his stepson’s fiancee and they split almost $750,000 in profits, with Puglisi taking 60%.

“The investigative team developed a working theory that Puglisi worked either with the principals of the adult content provider, or with the female profiles of the adult content provider in order to financially benefit from funds charged,” prosecutors wrote.

The Times says Puglisi also is accused of making $647,000 in payments to a limited liability company he owned with his wife, plus other expenditures, including: $374,000 for personal travel; $191,000 in rent for a family member; and $120,000 on household improvements.

The fraud was detected in November, leading to the firing of Puglisi, his boss and University Medical Service Association’s internal auditor.

In a statement, USF said UMSA has “implemented enhanced control structures, including upgrading financial reporting systems, to better protect against criminal acts.” The university has sued Puglisi and has filed an injunction prohibiting him from selling any property purchased with the embezzled funds.

Puglisi attorney Anthony Rickman said in a statement that his client is cooperating and is taking steps to make restitution.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A Boeing 747-8, Boeing's new passenger plane, takes its first flight, Sunday, March 20, 2011...
Associated Press

Boeing’s last 747 to roll out of Washington state factory

After more than half a century, Boeing is set to roll its last 747 out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday.
24 hours ago
FILE - Three girls embrace before they are removed from the home of Samuel Bateman, following his a...
Associated Press

FBI: Polygamous leader had 20 wives, many of them minors

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The leader of small polygamous group near the Arizona-Utah border had taken at least 20 wives, most of them minors, and punished followers who did not treat him as a prophet, newly filed federal court documents show. Samuel Bateman was a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Report: 25 people detained in far-right raids across Germany

BERLIN (AP) — German news agency dpa reports that 25 people have been detained as part of a series of raids against suspected far-right extremists across the country early Wednesday. Dpa cited federal prosecutors as saying officers conducted searches in 11 of Germany’s 16 states against members of the so-called Reich Citizens movement. Some members […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Israeli lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, center, surrounded by right wing activists with Israeli fl...
Associated Press

US Jews fear collision with expected Israeli government

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s ties to the Jewish American community, one of its closest and most important allies, are about to be put to the test, with Israel’s emerging far-right government on a collision course with Jews in the United States. Major Jewish American organizations, traditionally a bedrock of support for Israel, have expressed alarm […]
24 hours ago
Yale University doctoral students Siria Gamez, and Aishwarya Bhandari, rear, work on a wildlife cam...
Associated Press

Extinctions, shrinking habitat spur ‘rewilding’ in cities

DETROIT (AP) — In a bustling metro area of 4.3 million people, Yale University wildlife biologist Nyeema Harris ventures into isolated thickets to study Detroit’s most elusive residents — coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks among them. Harris and colleagues have placed trail cameras in woodsy sections of 25 city parks for the past five years. […]
24 hours ago
A cyclist passes by household waste inside yellow trash bags marked as medical waste in Beijing, We...
Associated Press

China announces rollback of strict anti-COVID-19 measures

BEIJING (AP) — In a sharp reversal, China has announced a series of measures rolling back some of its most draconian anti-COVID-19 restrictions, including limiting harsh lockdowns and ordering schools without known infections to resume regular classes. The National Health Commission in a 10-point announcement on Wednesday stipulated that COVID-19 tests and a clean bill […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Millions stolen from health fund spent at adult website