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US: Doylestown Hospital former director pleads guilty to embezzling $600K

A former hospital director in Bucks County pleaded guilty on Monday to embezzling over $600,000 from a hospital charity account.

Norma Galagarza, 68, from Chalfont, pleaded guilty to felony counts of theft by unlawful taking, theft deception, forgery, access device fraud, and computer trespassing.

She was sentenced to five years probation for this incident. Sentencing guidelines called for six to 14 months in the standard range.

The investigation began back in January 2022 when the Doylestown Hospital’s board of directors reported that they were receiving insufficient funds charges on one of their accounts, which they were unaware was open.

Galagarza, who retired from the hospital in March 2021, previously worked as the director of medical staff and oversaw the account set up by the Medical Executive Committee for charitable donations.

The account, known as the Charitable Fund, was created in 1991 as an employee benevolent fund to make donations to the community and employees in need.

It was funded entirely by donations made by physician leaders and was managed by the director of medical staff, authorities say.

In 2007, the committee that oversaw the fund stopped receiving monthly statements on the account and it went dormant.

When the hospital began receiving insufficient funds notices, officials realized the account was still open.

Hospital officials reviewed statements from previous years and found unauthorized account activity, including unauthorized withdrawals and deposits, totaling over $55,000 from October 2020 to December 2021.

Officials also realized the mailing address of the account was changed from the hospital to Galagarza’s home address.

As the director of medical staff, authorities said Galagarza was the sole person responsible for the reporting on the money spent.

Investigators later obtained search warrants and analyzed her expenses, discovering that she made 896 unauthorized transactions totaling roughly $604,702 from 2008 to 2021.

Galagarza used the money for personal expenses, according to police.

“This case is another reminder that in any business setting, even the most trusted employee can betray the organization,” said Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber. “No one is beyond systemic controls and oversight.”

Galagarza also previously paid full restitution to the Doylestown Hospital Medical Staff. 6abc Action News

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