Ex-health center CEO sentenced in $6M embezzlement

The former CEO of Miami Beach Community Health Center was sentenced to 42 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for embezzling millions of dollars from the federally qualified health center, the U.S. Department of Justice announced late last week.

Kathryn Abbate served as the health center's CEO from 2002 to mid-2012 and pleaded guilty to embezzling $6 million from about 2008 through May 2010, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

The former CEO approved non-accrued vacation pay and other forms of compensation that totaled more than $3 million, as well as issued more than 800 non-payroll checks to herself for another $3 million, the DOJ noted.

Payroll schemes are among the top three embezzlement scams criminals most often get away with, according to experts. Periodic reviews of each employee's year-to-date gross salary can help catch payroll irregularities, FiercePracticeManagement previously reported.

Miami Beach Community Health Center also sued accounting firms McGladrey and CohnReznick for failing to detect the executive's embezzlement for years, according to another South Florida Business Journal article. McGladrey settled the suit for an undisclosed amount.

For more:
- here's the DOJ announcement
- read the Business Journal articles on the sentence and lawsuit