Former Washington University Official Sentenced for Embezzling from Medical School
St. Louis, MO – Barbara “Basia” Skudrzyk, a/k/a Barbara “Basia” Najarro, 38, of St. Louis, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for three counts of mail fraud. She appeared in federal court today before U.S. District Court Judge Sippel and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $381,583.50.
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 approximately $400,000 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.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Washington University Police Department, 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.