Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 10, 2014

TC man, 42, accused of embezzling from Munson

TRAVERSE CITY — A former Munson Medical Center food service manager is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the hospital to buy gift cards, gasoline and other personal items.

Jeffery Joseph Ales, 42, of Traverse City, faces an 86th District Court warrant on an embezzlement from a nonprofit charge, a felony punished by up to 10 years in prison.

A police report states Munson officials counted $27,500 in personal purchases that Ales made through a “purchasing card” and a Sam’s Club card in the hospital’s name.

Ales worked as a senior manager for Sodexo, a company contracted to provide the hospital’s food services, until suspicions arose in October. Munson spokesman Ian Jones called the accusations the “act of an individual.”

“Obviously, for us it’s incredibly disappointing,” Jones said. “It’s fair to say it’s shocking and it makes you angry. It’s a betrayal to the organization.”

The police report states a Munson auditor found evidence Ales made several suspicious and unauthorized purchases, including gasoline for Ales’ personal vehicle and a large number of gift cards at Sam’s Club.

That prompted an investigation of Ales’ purchases from December 2009 until last year. Munson and Sodexo officials joined Grand Traverse County sheriff’s detectives in the probe.

Investigators found Ales made eight payments totaling $2,200 from a Munson purchasing card to a fictitious company he created and $6,400 in MasterCard gift cards, according to court documents.

The documents state Ales used MasterCard gift cards to purchase online time at websites “for personal purposes” that had nothing to do with work.

Ales’ attorney Gerald Chefalo said his client plans to surrender to authorities.

“We’re still hammering out the details on that,” Chefalo said. “He works out of state.”

Chefalo said he’s been in contact with detectives and prosecutors, but he hasn’t reviewed the final police report.

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