Emory Loses $19,000 in Fake Invoices Scam

The Michael C. Carlos Museum. / Hagar Elsayed, Video Editor

Emory University lost more than $19,000 over a three-year period via payments of several fraudulent invoices for art acquisitions.

Officials at the Michael C. Carlos Museum contacted Emory Police Department (EPD) on Jan. 27, 2017, after noticing six suspicious paid invoices dated between December 2012 and February 2016 from Masterpiece Art Acquisitions in Atlanta. Museum employees did not recognize the vendor and told EPD that five of the six invoices were funded from accounts that are not monitored regularly.

The invoices listed purchases of several art pieces ranging from $250 to $4,050 each. Carlos Museum Director of Security and Operations Bernard Potts told EPD that when a department head completes a requisition, the business manager and administrative assistant to the business manager review the paperwork. In all six of the invoices, no department head information was listed, Potts said. The thousands of dollars that were lost have not yet been recovered.

A former Emory employee and his non-Emory-affiliated friend were arrested and charged with theft and forgery. The employee, Travis Myers, had worked at the Carlos Museum as an accounting manager since 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile. He started working at Emory in 2008 as a senior accountant for the University and later as a financial analyst.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection alerted EPD on April 21 that Myers would arrive at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after returning from a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. EPD arrested Myers as he disembarked the plane and transported him to the DeKalb County Jail without incident.

Maicah Hendrix was also charged with theft and forgery in connection with the case. If found guilty, both face up to 25 years in prison.

Myers and Hendrix posted bail, which was set at $15,000 and $5,000, respectively, according to a Magistrate Court of DeKalb County employee.

Potts and Museum Director Bonnie Speed directed the Wheel’s requests for interviews to Associate Vice President of University Communications Nancy Seideman, who provided a statement on July 23 via Associate Director of Media Relations Megan McRainey.

“The case is with the DeKalb District Attorney’s office and it would not be appropriate for the university to offer further comment,” Seideman wrote.

The Wheel was unable to reach Myers and Hendrix for comment.

UPDATE (7/23/18 at 9:15 p.m.): The article has been updated to include a statement from Associate Vice President of University Communications Nancy Seideman.

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