A 21-year old student at the University of Washington was able to embezzle some $32,000 from the university’s Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity over a three-year period.
According to local CBS affiliate KIRO 7, University of Washington police investigators say the person in question was a work-study student who had been trained to make purchases and issue refunds on the department account. Part of the student’s job responsibilities included refunding other students for purchased course material that was no longer needed.
According to the investigation the accused fraudster began refunding his own account rather than the department’s, placing small sums of money onto his Husky Card, the University of Washington’s student ID. the Husky Card is used by students and staff to access buildings in addition to maintaining debit card functionality.
Funds can be added to the student ID card by simply going online, and students routinely buy food and other items at campus facilities and some off-campus businesses near campus. The Husky Card can also be used at university bookstores, and according police, the suspect used these locations to purchase consumer electronics and resell the items online.
University officials say the system had only generated aggregate monthly reports, without identifying individual transactions. Now, however, the university has instituted an improved reporting system.
According to police, the suspect made some 98 refund transactions over a three-year period, with the largest amount coming in at $1,500.