Employee arrested for embezzlement

By Kimberly Miller

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A pathology department administrator was arraigned yesterday and ordered to appear in Pima County Superior Court April 28 following a UAPD investigation that led to several charges of embezzlement.

On March 21, the grand jury indicted Amanda Martin, 32, of the 1200 Block of South Cody Avenue, on 16 felony counts including forgery, theft by misrepresentation, and fraudulent schemes.

Martin, an employee of the department for seven years, allegedly embezzled $15,200 from a group practice plan for faculty doctors at the university's College of Medicine, said UAPD Sgt. Salvatore Celi.

Martin is on suspension with pay.

Martin pled innocent to the charges read to her by Judge Walter Weber yesterday. Her lawyer, Joe Watson, refused to comment on the case.

Celi said Martin is suspected of sending in pay requests to University Physicians Inc., 575 E. River Road, for work done by her sister, Andrea Lopez, another university employee.

Martin was only authorized to write checks for up to $500, Celi said, but she is suspected of doubling the amount for which the checks should have been written.

Celi said Martin is accused of forging a doctor's signature and then submitting the inflated paycheck requests. The checks were then printed and returned to Martin for disbursement. Celi said Martin would then forge her sister's name on the checks to cash them.

Police estimate Martin has been embezzling the money since last July. They were notified by the Pathology Department in late September about Martin's suspicious activity.

Ronald S. Weinstein, pathology department head, said the situation was brought to his attention by concerned employees.

He said he contacted UAPD Feb. 28 after talking to UA attorneys.

"We called them in the morning and it is our understanding that by that evening they had a confession," Weinstein said.

Weinstein said he worked closely with Martin and never expected that she could do something like this.

"We worked very closely with her and were very surprised and deeply disappointed," Weinstein said.

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