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Former Va. college accountant admits stealing $225K from school

Federal authorities said a former accountant for the University of Northern Virginia hatched an unusual plan to steal: he directed payroll to write him checks.

John F. Rickard Jr., 50, of Manassas, pleaded guilty this week to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. Federal officials in Virginia said he stole more than $225,000.

Rickard, who was the business manager and accountant for the university from October 2008 to December 2009, handled the bookkeeping and payroll deposits for employees, officials said. As part of his job, he sent e-mail requests to a payroll processing company calling for checks to be processed for specific employees.

For more than a year, court records said, Rickard requested more than 50 checks in his name. The total exceeded his salary by more than $225,000.

Rickard falsified an audit report to hide the payroll diversions while he worked at the university, according to court records. After he left the university, his replacement discovered the discrepancies while reviewing the books.

Rickard is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 11.

-- Maria Glod


By Maria Glod  |  May 27, 2010; 8:18 AM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , Financial Crimes , From the Courthouse , Maria Glod , Schools  
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Congrats to the Fed's for uncovering this $255k fraud case at a Virginia University.
It's too bad the states own attorney general Cuccinelli isn't doing anything about finanicial fraud at state univerisities because he is too busy wasting everyones time with requests for climate change data he isn't even quailified to review.
If you want to catch fraud, you have to look at the books. that's what the feds did in this case and thats why they were sucessful.
Cuccinelli is a joke.

Posted by: MarilynManson | May 27, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Ken Cuccinelli recall time.

Posted by: FiatBooks | May 27, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

The school, "University of Northern Virginia" is not a state-supported university. I'd never heard of it before reading this article.

Posted by: elizestrada | May 27, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I am glad this was caught by the new accountant! These type of "white collar" crimes can be avoided. With the right procedures and controls, this should not have gotten so far. Fortunately, the guy left and didn't cover his tracks very well. Good job new employee!

Posted by: Ross65 | May 27, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

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