PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The former executive vice president and general counsel for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was accused of embezzling $1.7 million from the prestigious facility, authorities said on Thursday.
Roosevelt Hairston Jr. hid the theft from the hospital known as CHOP by creating shell companies, opening bank accounts in their names and establishing phony offices for them, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
Hairston, 56, of suburban Malvern "used the funds he stole from CHOP to live a luxurious lifestyle, purchasing real estate, a yacht with a captain to maintain the yacht, high-end automobiles and many other luxury items," prosecutors said in a statement.
Prosecutors say the fraud started in 1999 and continued until February of this year.
Hairston also is accused of lying to co-workers and his personal assistant and stealing the identity of a friend, the charges said. The government also charged that he failed to report income from the scheme to the Internal Revenue Service.
Hairston's lawyer, Howard Bruce Klein, said: "Roosevelt has made huge mistakes in his life and has admitted financial irregularities."
Klein said the admissions came when a firm investigating the situation for CHOP interviewed Hairston.
"There is a whole other side to Roosevelt," Klein said.
He said Hairston has led a public interest law center, worked with hungry and homeless people and mentored students and that he hoped those activities would be taken into consideration as the case proceeds.
(Reporting by Dave Warner; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)