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Press Release

Former Surgical Practice Administrator Sentenced to 26 Months in Prison for Embezzling More than a Million Dollars

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A federal judge today sentenced a Shelby County woman for stealing more than a million dollars from the surgical practice where she had worked for fifteen years, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Carlton L. Peeples. 

U.S. District Court Judge Karon O. Bowdre sentenced Betty Jo “BJ” Latsis, 58, of Birmingham to 26 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. As a condition of the plea agreement she signed last year, Latsis was required to pay $400,000 back to her victims by the time of sentencing, which she did. At sentencing she was ordered to pay an additional $600,000 in restitution. Latsis pleaded guilty in January to an information charging one count of wire fraud.

According to the plea agreement, from 2005 until 2020, Latsis, a registered nurse, worked as office manager and administrator at Colon & Rectal Surgical Associates of Birmingham. Latsis handled bookkeeping and accounting functions for the practice, and she used that position of trust to steal money in a variety of ways. According to court documents, between 2013 and 2020 Latsis transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars from practice accounts to a PayPal account she controlled. She paid herself hundreds of thousands of dollars more than she was authorized to receive. She used practice funds to pay off her personal credit card bills and those of her spouse. She used credit card accounts in doctors’ names to pay personal expenses, including a “7 Night Northern European CityScapes” Royal Caribbean cruise for her and her spouse. And she used practice funds to pay her and her spouse’s personal expenses directly—car lease payments, life insurance premiums, and even an $8,000 home entertainment system from Best Buy. In all, Latsis admitting to stealing more than $1.1 million from the practice during her tenure there.

The FBI investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney J.B. Ward prosecuted the case.

Updated May 17, 2023