Jhoanna Engelhardt-Fullar, 41, of Burlington, Princeton Healthcare Systems’ director of medical staff services, has been fired and arrested for allegedly embezzling $186,000 from her employer, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office announced on May 25.
According to authorities, Engelhardt-Fullar wrote company checks to herself from the medical staff account and ran up unauthorized debit card purchases over an 18-month period between April 2010 and February.
Princeton Healthcare Systems is the nonprofit company that runs the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, which just celebrated its grand opening on May 22.
Princeton Borough Police and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation after an internal audit earlier this year revealed irregularities. According to the prosecutor’s office, Engelhardt-Fullar cut fake checks written to herself and transferred money budgeted for the staff account onto her own credit cards starting in 2010.
She also allegedly used the staff account debit card to make over 130 unauthorized purchases that included groceries, restaurant meals, car repairs, payments to a timeshare, and Apple electronic devices. The amount of the theft totaled $186,000 prior to the audit’s findings, said authorities.
Hospital officials contacted borough police following the audit. They conducted a joint investigation with the prosecutor’s office’s Economic Crime Unit that resulted in Engelhardt-Fullar being charged with second degree theft by deception on May 25. She was released after posting $35,000 bail on the same day. She was fired from her job in February.
The prosecutor’s office said Engelhardt-Fullar faces a maximum of 10 years in state prison and a $150,000 fine if convicted. Mercer County Prosecutor Joe Bocchini credited Economic Crime Unit Detective Michele Russell and Princeton Borough Police Detective Dan Federico for the investigation. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor James Scott, who heads the Economic Crime Unit.