Former Washington University Official Admits to Embezzling from Medical School
St. Louis, MO – Barbara “Basia” Skudrzyk, a/k/a Barbara “Basia” Najarro, 38, of St. Louis, pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud.
Skudrzyk was employed as the Business Director for the Division of Medical Education at Washington University. According to the plea agreement, beginning in May 2010 and continuing through July 31, 2018, Skudrzyk defrauded Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri of in excess of approximately $300,000 through various means. On many occasions, Skudrzyk hired contractors and other service providers to perform personal services for her benefit, and at her personal residence. She would then create, submit and approve false invoices and false W-9 tax forms for these contractors and other service providers to make it appear as if they had performed work for the Division of Medical Education when they had not. Skudrzyk approved and processed payment to these contractors and other service providers from Washington University’s funds. These service providers included a moving company, a home cleaning service, a divorce law firm, residential painters and construction companies, a jewelry boutique, a babysitter, and various other vendors and contractors. Further, Skudrzyk purchased VISA gift cards at the Washington University bookstore, forging another Washington University employee’s signature on the receipts and charging the purchases to the Division of Medical Education. Skudrzyk then used the VISA gift cards for her own personal use, including for purchases at restaurants, a jewelry store, and a number of other retailers. Additionally, Skudrzyk falsified and changed invoices from two different travel companies for airline flights for herself and her family to such places as Krakow, Poland, Munich, Germany, Bangkok, Thailand, Toronto, Canada, West Palm Beach, Florida, New York City, and Dallas and San Antonio, Texas. Skudrzyk submitted, processed and approved these falsified invoices in order to get Washington University to pay for the personal trips.
Judge Sippel accepted Skudrzyk’s plea and deferred sentencing until March 8, 2019. The maximum penalty for mail fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution to the victim is also mandatory. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case is being investigated by the Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance and cooperation of Washington University. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.