Former UAB Hospital food services employee charged with $1M cash theft

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Federal prosecutors charged a former University of Alabama at Birmingham employee with stealing more than $1 million over six years from a cash room she oversaw.

Kyejuana Avery was charged Friday with one count of theft between 2008 and 2013 concerning programs receiving federal funds. The U.S. Attorney's Office filed the charge, along with a plea agreement, in U.S. District Court. Avery will plead guilty to the charge and will pay restitution to UBA in an amount to be determined at sentencing. The maximum penalty for theft concerning programs receiving federal funds is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Ms. Avery had worked as a financial account representative at UAB in the Hospital Food and Nutrition Services Department from 2007 to 2013. She was responsible for the "Cash Room," where cashiers from various food and beverage locations throughout the hospital are able to exchange high denomination bills for smaller bills and coins to make change for customers.

In Dec. 2013, department administrators counted cash on hand in the Cash Room and found nearly $14,000 missing. A later audit conducted by the university found $1.1 million in withdrawals between 2008 and 2013 that had never been repaid.

Ms. Avery admitted to the FBI that she began periodically taking $800 to $900 from the safe in 2008 and continued to do so for nearly six years.

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