TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City man who embezzled thousands from Munson Medical Center presented "an unusual case," a judge said before he imposed a six-month jail sentence.
Jeffrey Joseph Ales, 43, graduated from college, went on to a successful career as a food service manager at Munson and could boast the well regards of his colleagues, said 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers.
For those reasons, Rodgers said he found it unusual that Ales would stand before him for sentencing on an embezzlement charge. Ales told Rodgers his crime stemmed from addiction issues, a claim that Grand Traverse County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Forsyth did not dispute.
"But that does not excuse his behavior," Forsyth said.
Ales worked as a senior manager for Sodexo, a company contracted to provide the hospital's food services, until Munson officials grew suspicious of thousands of dollars in purchases under his watch.
Investigators found more than $20,000 of suspicious purchases, some of which were made to a fictitious company that Ales created. Court documents state Ales used gift cards to buy online time at websites “for personal purposes."
Ales eventually pleaded guilty to an embezzlement charge. He told Rodgers he struggled with addiction issues and sought help after accusations arose in October.
Rodgers sentenced Ales to six months in Grand Traverse County's jail, 36 months of probation and ordered him to pay $21,000 in restitution back to Munson. Ales said he could make a $5,000 restitution payment right away.