Administrator Charged In $1.5M Tuition Fraud

Monday, December 13, 2021

A UCSF School of Nursing administrator will stand trial in February for allegedly diverting $1.5 million in tuition payments into her own bank accounts.Sandra Le, a School of Nursing academic program officer for the Post-Master’s Certificate Program, was indicted last August with one count of wire fraud for misappropriating tuition payments over the course of six years.

“This was a terrible situation,” Kristen Bole, the Executive Director of Public Affairs in UCSF’s Office of Communication, said in an email. “When it came to light in 2019 during a routine school audit, we took immediate action.” 

The tuition payment misappropriation occurred between November 2013 to March 2019, according to an indictment filed by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Le allegedly took advantage of her duty to receive tuition payment checks. These checks are supposed to be made payable to the University of California Regents. Instead, the indictment alleges, Le instructed students to make their checks payable to her, her husband, her son, or an entity known as RSG. As many as 257 checks totaling $1,524,845.54 were deposited into these bank accounts, which Le maintained for her own personal use.

Le concealed the missing funds by mis-recording the funds in accounting records she maintained as part of her job responsibilities, according to the indictment. She removed students from internal student rosters so that the internal revenue figures matched the number of students in the program. Additionally, Le provided falsified receipts to students indicating that their tuition had been paid to the UCSF School of Nursing and created false bank deposit slips, which she emailed to her supervisor.

“UCSF and the UCSF School of Nursing have complied fully with law enforcement throughout this investigation,” said Bole. “There is no indication that the activity impacted other faculty, staff or students, and there was no financial impact on our educational programs. Due to the ongoing active investigation, we are not able to comment further.”

In a twitter thread, KTVU court reporter Henry K. Lee reported that Le had been accused of mishandling money before. According to Lee, in 2010, a judge ordered Le to pay $5,000 in interest to a consultant who had accused her of stealing while she worked as his bookkeeper. 

Lee’s twitter thread includes a quote from the consultant stating: “I always wondered if I should have called @UCSF & at the time I didn’t. Darn it.”

If Le is convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison or a fine of up to $250,000, and the seizure of misappropriated funds.