Guilty Plea in Atlanta Embezzlement

The former executive director of the Medical Association of Atlanta, Sharon Rice, pled guilty to wire fraud on Thursday. She had embezzled almost $300,000 from the Association.

Atlanta embezzlement attorneys note that the maximum penalty for wire fraud is twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The manner in which Rice was able to siphon funds to herself was not an unusual one. When the MAA’s director of finance left the organization, Ms. Rice took over financial responsibilities for four years. While she was the financial officer, Ms. Rice wrote almost $300,000-worth of checks to herself in addition to her normal pay.

She also:

Wrote checks to make payments on her MAA visa card, and she had used the card to make personal purchases.

The payments were hidden from accountants and the board of directors because Ms. Rice was able to forge co-signatures on checks, and because she made fictitious bookeeping entries.

The U.S. Attorney, Sally Quillian Yates, said, “Non-profit organizations like MAA trust their executives to act in the best interests of their members without regard to profit and personal financial gain. This defendant betrayed that trust by using her position to steal money that she should have been safeguarding rather than looting, a decision that may now lead her into a federal prison cell.”

The Medical Association of Atlanta is a non-profit and tax-exempt organization of Atlanta doctors with 600-1000 members. The MAA lobbies for doctors in the Georgia General Assembly and with other organizations.