For Immediate Release - December 17, 2010

Husband and Wife Arraigned in Connection with Stealing Approximately $500,000 From Partners Healthcare

The Couple Allegedly Used Stolen Funds To Make Personal Purchases Including Cell Phones, GPS Devices, DVDs, And Cameras

DEDHAM - A former Westwood woman and her husband have been arraigned in connection with stealing approximately half a million dollars from the wife's former employer, Partners Healthcare, by submitting false invoices to the employer from three companies they created. The wife was also arraigned in connection with billing her employer for numerous personal expenses that she fraudulently claimed were business related, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced.

Carol Peterson, age 59, formerly of Westwood, now of Cape Coral, Florida, was arraigned in Norfolk Superior Court yesterday on charges of Larceny over $250 by Scheme (2 counts), False Entries in Corporate Books (2 counts) and Conspiracy. Carol's husband, Robert Peterson, age 66, was also arraigned on charges of Larceny over $250 by Scheme and Conspiracy.

In July 2010, the Attorney General's Office began an investigation after the alleged activities were discovered by Carol Peterson's former employer. For several years, Mrs. Peterson was the executive director of two medical practices affiliated with Partners Community Healthcare, Inc. (PCHI), a division of Partners Healthcare. Her job duties included the review and approval for payment of invoices received by these two medical practices. Authorities allege that Mr. and Mrs. Peterson stole approximately $450,000 from PCHI by creating and submitting fraudulent invoices from three companies they secretly controlled.

Investigators discovered that Mr. Peterson created three distinct companies and opened bank accounts and PO Boxes for each. Mrs. Peterson would then allegedly submit and approve fraudulent invoices for payment for goods and services that were never provided to PCHI by these three companies. Authorities allege that Mr. Peterson withdrew much of the stolen money from the bank accounts in cash, and that both he and his wife used the funds for their own personal purposes.

Investigators also discovered that Mrs. Peterson stole approximately $36,000 from her employer in another scheme in which she deceived the company into paying for personal purchases she made.

Among the purchases that investigators allege Mrs. Peterson made with the stolen funds include:

  • Cell phones
  • GPS devices
  • Cameras
  • DVDs
  • Office supplies

She claimed in the fraudulent invoices that these purchased items were business related. In many cases Mrs. Peterson allegedly altered the invoices to hide the descriptions of the actual items she purchased and she would sometimes include her purchases with legitimate business purchases in order to conceal the personal purchases.

On December 1, 2010, a Norfolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against both Carol and Robert Peterson. Yesterday, both were arraigned in Norfolk Superior Court where they both plead not guilty and were released on personal recognizance. Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders ordered that the Petersons send a letter to the Department of Probation every two weeks postmarked from Florida, and required the couple toobtain court permission to travel anywhere outside Florida and Massachusetts. The Petersons are due back in court in person on March 30, 2011.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Lee Hettinger, and was investigated by Financial Investigators Taylor Glynn and Jessie Dean, all of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Corruption and Fraud Division. Massachusetts State Police also assisted with the investigation. Partners Healthcare cooperated fully with the Attorney General's investigation.