Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

VPS Credit Cards Misused, Van Stolen

The Volunteer and Public Service Center has experienced two instances of crime in the past month, including alleged embezzlement by a former employee and the theft of two VPS vans according to VPS officials.

Sheline Brown, officer manager for VPS, was asked by supervisors to resign in mid-March for allegedly misusing a university credit card, or Pro-Card, to make personal expenditures, according to Gerald Bull, Pro-Card administrator for University Purchasing and Contracts.

According to Bull, the card is only granted to full-time university employees after completing a thorough application process. Approved holders can make university-related purchases with the card but any personal expenditure is unauthorized.

Bull said this is the first incident of fraudulent university credit card use he has encountered. He added that because of the many purchase review levels within VPS, it is relatively difficult for an employee to get away with embezzlement of this nature.

“It is not easy at all to [misuse the card],” Bull said. He added that individual purchases are closely monitored through a number of security measures.

Sharon Morgenthaler, acting director of VPS and Brown’s supervisor, declined to comment on the incident.

Brown was unavailable for comment as well.

Associate Director of Public Relations Bill Cessato said “this issue is an internal personnel matter.”

“VPS is cooperating with pending MPD and DPS investigations.  We do not release details of personnel matters or ongoing investigations,” he said.

Around the same time that Brown was asked to resign, a student employee of VPS reported the theft of two university-owned vans to the Department of Public Safety.

In her March 15 allegation, Lauren Williams (MSB ’03), who coordinates van usage for VPS, said that upon returning from spring break, she noticed that the vans were missing, indicating that they must have been stolen between March 2 and March 15.

Williams said that VPS has been lending the vans to university service groups such as D.C. Reads and Heads Up on a regular basis and only began experiencing problems last year. “A key was duplicated last year by a student . but he was caught,” Williams said.

Williams said that since the VPS office is not under strict security, access to the keys is relatively easy. “It is a system based on trust,” she said.

Since the 12 passenger vans, which are blue, white, gray and green, cannot be distinctly identified by any markings, she said that someone could easily use them for personal purposes in public.

While Williams said that she has heard of students using the vans for personal reasons on a number of separate occasions, in this case it is most likely that the offender is not a student.

Although the vehicles are insured, Williams said that the transportation shortage over the past month has been inconvenient.

“Hopefully over the summer we will get everything taken care of,” she said.

According to Associate Director of Public Safety Darryl Harrrison, DPS and MPD plan to collaborate together on their individual cases.

Harrison said that no headway has been made yet regarding the investigation.

“We have nothing to report as of this time,” he said.

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