Crime

A federal grand jury has indicted a woman who allegedly stole more than $300,000 from a Newark medical practice during a six-year period while working there as the business director, according to the U.S. Office of the Attorney General.

The defendant, Kimberly Sponaugle, 41, of Port Deposit, Md., is charged with one count of wire fraud after the federal grand jury handed up the one-count indictment on Thursday.

Investigators allege that Sponaugle “engaged in a scheme to defraud” her now-former employer by using a corporate credit card to make approximately $322,652 in unauthorized, personal purchases from January 2012 through March 2018.

Sponaugle was the business’s office manager from 2005 through 2010 and then worked as the business’ director from 2010 through March 2018, when she was fired, outlined Kimberlyn Reeves, an OAG spokeswoman.

While the federal indictment does not identified the victimized business, Sponaugle’s profile on LinkedIn identifies her former employer as All About Woman, an OB/GYN medical practice located on the campus of Christiana Hospital. She was also listed on All About Women’s website staff page as director as recently as 2017, according to archived internet records, and noted as so in Delaware civil court records. References to her on the current All About Women website have been removed.

On Tuesday, Rhonda Burke, office manager of All About Woman, said, “We believe that any employee that is found to have stolen money from her employer should be held accountable for her theft.”

Sponaugle allegedly used funds from the medical practice’s bank account — money earmarked to pay corporate credit card bills — to make those personal purchases and then she hid her fraud by making false entries in the company’s financial accounting system, Reeves explained.

“Through this scheme, Sponaugle used the business’ funds without authorization to purchase, among other items, vacations, jewelry, and limousine services, as well as to make personal charitable contributions using the corporate credit card,” Reeves reported.

In her statement, Burke also addressed possible concerns that All About Women patients may have after learning about the federal indictment against Sponaugle.

“Our patients should rest assured that the crimes alleged to have been committed against All About Women did not involve the misappropriation of any patient health or financial data. All About Women has and will continue to carefully monitor all information covered by HIPPA to ensure that patient privacy is protected and remains secured,” Burke said.

If convicted of the wire fraud charge, Sponaugle would face up to 20 years in prison, according to Reeves, who qualified that “actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties” and that all defendants charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Reeves further explained that, if Sponaugle is convicted, the federal judge assigned to the criminal case would take into account U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors at sentencing.

David C. Weiss, who is the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced the indictment against Sponaugle on Thursday and commented, “The defendant abused her employer’s trust and repeatedly diverted corporate funds for her own personal use through a years-long scheme. My office is committed to investigating and prosecuting fraudulent conduct, like the defendant’s, that hurts Delaware businesses.”

The indictment against Sponaugle was filed after an investigation by the Wilmington Office of the FBI’s Baltimore Division and by the Delaware State Police, Reeves said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carly A. Hudson is the prosecutor assigned to the case, she added.

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