Valley View Hospital employee arrested for embezzlement
November 29, 2011
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Former Valley View Hospital employee Lisa Dawn Mack turned herself in to authorities at 5 a.m. Monday on a warrant that alleges she stole a total of about $226,000 from the hospital and from another employee from 2009 to 2011.
She is being held in the Garfield County Jail on a $100,000 bond.
The other employee, Mack’s alleged victim, is Mack’s daughter-in-law, Donna Michelle Sandel, according to an affidavit prepared by the Glenwood Springs Police Department. She told police that Mack stole at least $47,600 from her in 2009 and 2010.
Mack also is alleged to have stolen more than $178,000 from the hospital, in “unauthorized mileage reimbursements and overpayments made to Sandel and then reimbursed back to Mack for the purpose of paying back Valley View Hospital,” according to the affidavit.
Mack, 42, was employed at Valley View from September 2006 until early this year. She had been living in Wolfforth, Texas. She traveled on her own back to Garfield County to turn herself in at 5 a.m. Monday, according to Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson.
In her initial court appearance Monday, Mack asked Magistrate Holly Strablizky, “Is there no way I can get a P.R. bond?”
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“No,” replied the magistrate. “There is no way.”
A personal recognizance (P.R.) bond allows a defendant to be freed from jail on their good word that they will reappear for future proceedings.
According to police, this is not Mack’s first brush with the law.
She reportedly was arrested for theft in Texas in 1995, under the name of Lisa Dawn Stanford. She is believed to have used other aliases over the years, including Lisa Dawn Stabeno, Lisa Dawn Crow, Lisa Dawn Forrest, Lisa Stanford Forrest, Lisa Stambeno and Lisa Dawn Stanford.
Police also allege that, according to three major credit reporting agencies, Mack has racked up credit card debts of approximately $95,000.
The case against Mack began in February when Sandel went to police to report that she suspected her mother-in-law was stealing from her.
The underlying allegations go back to February 2009, when Sandel, 25, was hired by Valley View Hospital as a contract business consultant at $2,750 per week.
By the end of September 2010, she was earning a contract rate of $3,600 per week.
Sandel told police that, despite the high pay she was receiving, “she has had minimal training and experience in this field and has completed two online college classes.”
Mack, who was listed in the affidavit as the hospital’s director of the revenue cycle, told police she had a variety of financial responsibilities in the hospital. She said she had hired Sandel as a “superstar” who could fill numerous jobs when other employees were out for such things as pregnancies or surgery.
According to Sandel’s story to police, Mack told Sandel she would be earning between $1,800 and $2,200 per week.
Within weeks of Sandel’s hiring, she recalled, Mack was telling her she was being paid too much, that the overpayments had to be paid back, and that Mack would handle the repayments.
Mack allegedly also offered to take cash from Sandel to be placed in a special account for Sandel’s income taxes, which Mack allegedly said would be matched by the hospital to the tune of a 35 percent contribution.
Sandel reported that she would turn over half of each paycheck, and that she “would randomly give Mack $1,000 to $2,000 in cash for her income taxes.
Sandel told police she relied on Mack to let her know how much of Sandel’s paychecks were actually hers to keep.
According to police, Sandel never received income-tax refunds that Mack said were due to Sandel.
In fact, Sandel said, on Feb. 14, 2011, she received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service informing her that she owed more than $31,000 for her 2009 taxes. On Feb. 23, Sandel went to police.
To investigate the case, the police department sought a forensic audit. The results, reported in June, showed that Mack had allegedly “induced Sandel to return approximately $225,600 to Mack in the form of estimated tax payments and mistaken overpayments. None of this money was repaid to Valley View Hospital.”
The auditors found that the hospital paid Sandel approximately $482,000 as a contractor from February 2009 through January 2011, although she turned over nearly half that amount to Mack, according to police.
Mack, who is formally charged with four counts of theft over four different six-month periods, is due in court again on Dec. 7.