Jon Campisi Nov. 18, 2011, 11:09am

The bowtie-clad, former general counsel to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who pleaded guilty in federal court this summer to stealing $1.7 million from the area healthcare facility, was sentenced Wednesday to 48 months in prison, according to local media reports.

Roosevelt Hairston, Jr. shocked the local legal community when he owned up to his crimes back in July.

The attorney’s crime spree began in 1999, when Hairston prepared 126 fake invoices to obtain checks from the hospital, money that was sent to fake entities set up by Hairston so that he could launder the money for his own, personal use, according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Hairston stole funds that should have been used for research and treatment of kids at the Children’s Hospital, and instead used them for personal expenses over a lengthy period,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Gray was quoted in the newspaper as saying after Wednesday’s sentencing hearing before Judge Lawrence F. Stengel at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Hairston is expected to report to prison in 90 days.

According to court documents, Hairston had been charged with mail fraud, money laundering and filing a false tax return.

After a hearing before Judge Stengel on July 13, Hairston was released on $700,000 recognizance bail, court records show, and he was allowed to return to his home in the wealthy suburb of Malvern, Pa.

The Inquirer article states that Hairston agreed earlier this year to pay Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia restitution in the amount of $1.7 million, and up to $1 million in back taxes.

Right before being charged with his crimes, Hairston served as CHOP’s executive vice president and general counsel, positions that enabled him to approve invoices submitted to the hospital.

According to the criminal information filed by the government, (defendants expected to plead guilty are generally charged via criminal information as opposed to indictment), Hairston embezzled the approximate $1.7 million from CHOP between 1999 and this year.

During this period, Hairston, who was responsible for coordinating CHOP’s defense against medical malpractice claims, took advantage of his position by creating the fraudulent invoices supposedly going to services rendered by “expert medical witnesses” in med mal cases that never actually existed, or had never provided services to CHOP’s legal team.

In addition to the fraudulent legal fees, Hairston also created false invoices relating to other supposed work done for the hospital, such as consulting services, economic impact studies and other work related to community and government relations.

“Defendant Roosevelt Hairston Jr. went to great lengths to conceal his fraud and launder the proceeds of the scheme by creating numerous shell companies, opening bank accounts in the shell companies’ names, establishing phony offices for the shell companies and creating fraudulent email addresses for some of the shell companies,” Zane David Memeger, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, wrote in the criminal information.

The shell companies that Hairston set up to steal money from his employer included names like LBS Partners, Legal & Business Services Enterprises, L&S Data Services, The Children’s Research Alliance and Orion Development Group.

Hairston was also charged with filing false tax returns that failed to report his income from the scheme, something that enabled him to maximize his profits.

The Inquirer reported that more than $1 million of the money stolen by Hairston, who was earning between $500,000 and $700,000 a year during the time period comprising his scheme, was used in two real estate ventures in Chester County, Pa.

More News