Madison Woman Who Made False Statements About Use Of Federal Funds Sentenced To Federal Prison
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that AMY KUHNER, 55, formerly of Madison, was sentenced today by Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 15 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for making false statements about her use of federal grant monies. KUHNER also was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.
“At a time when every dollar of federal spending is precious, we will not hesitate to act to protect the money taxpayers provide for worthy causes,” said U.S. Attorney Fein. “Any failure to fully and accurately account for such funds will be subject to investigation, and where merited, vigorous prosecution.”
“Individuals who handle federal grant funds have an obligation to the government and taxpayers to exercise the utmost care in accounting for those funds,” said Susan J. Waddell, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Regional Office of the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “The most basic and obvious obligation is simply to tell the truth about how those funds are used. This prosecution serves notice that where appropriate, we will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those who violate that basic obligation.”
According to court documents and statements made in court, KUHNER was the Executive Director of Sunshine House, an organization formed for the purpose of constructing a facility in Madison to care for seriously ill children. In September 2001, Sunshine House received an $836,190 federal grant to pay part of the construction costs of the center from the Health Resources Services Administration (“HRSA”), a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As Executive Director of Sunshine House, KUHNER was the only person who handled the grant money and exercised exclusive control over the use of the grant funds.
In July 2007, after all of the grant funds had been drawn down, HRSA asked Sunshine House to provide documentation of costs incurred by Sunshine House during the grant period. In pleading guilty, KUHNER admitted sending to HRSA documents that falsely stated that Sunshine House had incurred architectural and engineering costs to date in the amount of $594,225. The documents also omitted the fact that, from September 2001 through September 2006, KUHNER had received a gross salary of $417,932 and health insurance benefits totaling $22,294, and that most of this salary and benefits had been paid using grant funds.
In addition, KUHNER used grant funds to pay her salary in 2007 and 2008, after the grant had closed.
On July 25, 2012, KUHNER pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements about her use of federal funds.
This investigation was conducted by special agents from the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Sheldon and Auditor Susan Spiegel.
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