Over a period of five years, an accounting manager for the University of South Florida’s University Medical Services Association (UMSA) spent $12,860,744.07 of UMSA money on renovations, travel, yachts, and “women affiliated with an interactive adult website.” He’s now been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge William F. Jung has sentenced Ralph Puglisi (60, Palm Harbor) to 10 years in federal prison for mail fraud. As part of his sentence, the court also ordered Puglisi to pay full restitution in the amount of $12,860,744.07 to the University of South Florida and entered an order of forfeiture in the amount of $12,800,000, the proceeds of his mail fraud scheme. Puglisi had pleaded guilty on August 26, 2021.
According to court documents, Puglisi was employed as an accounting manager for the University of South Florida’s University Medical Services Association (UMSA). In this position, he was involved in overseeing the administration of UMSA’s credit cards. Beginning in or around June 2014, and continuing through November 2019, Puglisi defrauded UMSA by using several of that entity’s credit cards to make $12,860,744.07 in unauthorized charges for his own benefit, including rent payments, extensive home renovations, travel, chartered yachts, and contributions to women affiliated with an interactive adult website. Puglisi exploited his position as accounting manager to make false journal entries in records that created the illusion that his charges were related to UMSA’s business operations.
A Tampa Bay Times report says that according to the man’s lawyer, things went bad in 2014 when Puglisi met his partner Donna McCoy. At that point, he’d worked for USMA for eight years.
“Puglisi believed that in order to keep Donna happy, he would have to provide her with a luxurious lifestyle,” the memo said. “So, in addition to using the … credit cards for his own personal expenditures, he also used the cards for home furnishing, trips, and gifts for her and her family.”
The memo said Puglisi felt compelled to help her “achieve her dream job of working in international real estate,” so the two used the stolen funds to set up bank accounts, purchase land in the Caribbean and pay salaries and expenses for their company, Tropical Familia Investment.
The same Tampa Bay Times report says the majority of the nearly $13 million — an estimated $11.5 million — was spent on the website mygirlfund.com. Another report says USF sued MyGirlFund demanding it return a portion of the money however MyGirlFund says — hilariously, we might add — that it’s not their fault “Puglisi found USF’s ineptitude too tempting” and that no controls were in place at USF to prevent the guy from funneling millions of dollars to camgirls.
According to a USF investigation, Puglisi visited the profiles of some users thousands of times and arranged a set up where he paid money and received 60 percent of it back. One of the profiles was that of his stepson’s wife.
With another user in Canada, who also sent money back, he paid more than $60,000 for her and her friends to take trips to Orlando and stay at Walt Disney World Resorts. Those women, as well as several Puglisi family members who benefited from the stolen funds, also are being sued.
Apparently Puglisi also pulled a David from 90 Day Fiancé and believed he was wifed up with one of the camgirls:
The memo from his lawyer stated he also turned to a website, mygirlfund.com, for companionship and believed he was in a relationship with a webcam model. He began sending her money in hopes she would be able to support her family and leave the website. His lawyer said he sent her $6 million. She is being sued by USF, which is attempting to get the money back.
USF says it has since “implemented enhanced control structures, including upgrading financial reporting systems, to better protect against criminal acts.”
Former USF Accounting Manager Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison For Mail Fraud Scheme [Department of Justice]
Accounting manager who handled USF health care funds embezzled millions [Tampa Bay Times]
Manager who stole nearly $13M from USF is sentenced to 10 years in prison [Tampa Bay Times]