A former administrative assistant with the Southwest Research Center in Mt. Vernon, Missouri, a unit of MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, pleaded guilty Monday to embezzling more than $700,000 from the university.
Carla Rathmann, 54, was fired in September after a new superintendent at the Center became suspicious of her financial activities and her unwillingness to share financial information with him. After noting she was making personal transactions using her university credit card, she was fired and an internal investigation began. The Highway Patrol and FBI later became involved.
Rathmann admitted to submitting fake and fraudulent invoices to the university and to using her university card for about $146,144 in personal expenses. She faces up to 30 years in federal prison without parole.
MU says there were several factors that contributed to the fraud not being detected, including limited staffing in a remote location; lack of an on-site superintendent for extended periods; weak internal controls; and a failure to follow university policies.
The University says its insurance carrier is expected to reimburse about $650,000.