By keeping the amount of individual purchase orders under $10,000, investigators said, Ms. Petrone was able to avoid an additional layer of review required by the university. In 2021, she arranged for the university to buy 8,000 iPads and Surface Pro tablets, according to a criminal complaint.
Ms. Petrone held various administrative positions at the Department of Emergency Medicine since 2008 and worked in other capacities at the university and Yale New Haven Hospital starting in 1999, according to court documents.
While she was under law enforcement surveillance last August, Ms. Petrone drove 94 boxes that had been loaded into the back of her Range Rover and contained new Surface Pro tablets from her office to a FedEx facility in Orange, Conn., near New Haven, investigators said.
In announcing the plea agreement, federal prosecutors said that Ms. Petrone had also evaded $6 million federal income taxes on her profits from the scheme, including filing several years of false tax returns.
On those tax returns, they said, she falsely claimed the costs of the stolen equipment as business expenses. For three years, Ms. Petrone failed to file any tax returns, according to prosecutors, who said that she had also agreed to pay restitution to the federal government for the unpaid taxes.
“Miss Petrone has accepted responsibility for her actions, and she looks towards sentencing,” Frank J. Riccio II, a lawyer for Ms. Petrone, said in an email on Friday.
Ms. Petrone pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. She faces a maximum sentence of 23 years in prison. Based on federal sentencing guidelines, her sentence is more likely to be in the range of eight to 10 years, with a fine of $30,000 to $300,000, according to the plea agreement.
Ms. Petrone was released on $1 million bond until her sentencing, which is scheduled for June.