By Michael B. Murphy
Former Framingham State University employee Robert Walmsley was ordered to pay the university $25,000 in restitution at a July 22 hearing at the Middlesex Superior Court.
The order, signed by Judge Thomas Billings, requires Walmsley to pay considerably less than the $110,000 he was found guilty of stealing from the University. Walmsley was sentenced to two-and-a-half-years in prison at a March 6 court hearing.
In an email interview, the Attorney General’s Media Contact Emalie Gainey said restitution might be lower than the actual loss amount because the parties involved and the court typically take into account the defendant’s ability to pay during the period of probation.
The hearing was originally scheduled for May 19, but was postponed due to the prosecution and Walmsley’s defense attorney, Meryl Kukura, being unable to agree on a figure.
The March 6 guilty plea brought an end to a nearly two-year investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office into the suspicious spending habits of the former assistant director of Alumni Relations.
According to a March 6, 2015 press release from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, the investigation began in July 2013 after FSU officials expressed their concern about Walmsley’s use of his FSU-issued procurement card to the Attorney General’s Office. Walmsley was later arrested on Aug 5, 2014.
According to an August 2014 press release from the office of former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Walmsley was terminated from his position as FSU’s assistant director of alumni relations in June 2013 after school officials discovered he had charged the university over $100,000 in illegitimate expenses to “fund his drug use.” The Attorney General alleged that Walmsley spent the majority of the stolen funds on cocaine.
Walmsley, an FSU alumnus, is believed to have stolen the $110,000 using an FSU-issued procurement card between July 2011 and May 2013. During this time, Walmsley sent in falsified monthly expense reports to the university to justify his spending.
“He signed and submitted those fraudulent documents ... to FSU, falsely claiming they were for work-authorized purchases,” according to Healey’s press release.
Procurement cards are company charge cards assigned to employees and they are intended to be spent on company-related business expenses.
Once Walmsley’s misuse of his FSU-issued procurement card was discovered, university officials temporarily shut down the use of all employee charge cards. However, limited usage of FSU-issued procurement cards was re-introduced at the end of September 2013.