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Missori Shriners CFO pleads guilty to stealing $828K from hospital

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St. Louis Business Journal

Shriners CFO pleads guilty to stealing $828K from hospital

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The former fiscal services director of Shriners Hospital for Children pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing more than $828,000 from the hospital to buy luxury cars, a Florida condo, sports tickets and a Las Vegas vacation.

Robert Steven Brodzin, 41, of O'Fallon, pleaded guilty to one felony count of mail fraud and now faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000, said U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway. He must also make restitution of $828,973 to Shriners.

His sentencing is Nov. 7.

From 2000 to 2008, Brodzin was the director of fiscal services for Shriners Hospital in St. Louis, where he created three "dummy" companies, prosecutors said. He established the fake West County Orthopaedic Supply, West County Surgical and BEI Systems Inc. and positioned them as vendors of Shriners. He then obtained unauthorized payments from the hospital by presenting checks for approval and payment in these three companies' names. Brodzin also admitted to secretly obtaining and using an unauthorized Shriners credit card for personal expenses.

Brodzin used the stolen money to buy luxury automobiles, a condominium in St. Petersburg, Fla., vacation travel and related expenses in Las Vegas and other locations, golf and health club memberships, season tickets for assorted St. Louis professional sports teams games and to fund his personal small business opportunities. "Stealing money that was meant for special needs children to fund an excessive luxury life style is one of the most egregious type of fraud schemes," Hanaway said in a statement. "Shriners is a great organization that Brodzin took advantage of using his position of trust as CFO."

Shriners Hospitals for Children is an international health care system of 22 hospitals, including one in St. Louis, dedicated to providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research and teaching programs. Children up to age 18 with orthopaedic conditions, burns of all degrees, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care and receive all services at no charge, regardless of financial need or relationship to a Shriner.

Reader Comments

(9) Comments

bruce buwalda August 22, 2008 3:49PM EST

As a shriner, I recall helping on fund raiers and other events to support the hospital system. Now we read that some low life dirt bag has decided to help himself to the money we raised. $250K fines and 20 years is not enough. As gary hall wrote: "don't mess with the kids"!

Jennifer Stewart DVM August 22, 2008 1:59AM EST

Marian Wright Edelman"It's time for greatness -- not for greed. It's a time for idealism -- not ideology. It is a time not just for compassionate words, but compassionate action."My father was a Shriner and his golf tournament to raise money for the Shriners Childrens Hospital in St. Louis persists even in the grief of his passing. I know that his compassion and caring will outlive and outweigh this one man's insatiable greed.

Larry Timpe August 21, 2008 10:56PM EST

I would hope that he was bonded. Regardless, this guy is a prime example of too many executives that think they can do anything they want with other people's money. Scumbag is too good a name for him.

Dan Carlsen August 21, 2008 10:14PM EST

Hmmm......I thought John Edwards had a lock on Scumbag of the Year award after cheating on his wife while she goes thru chemo.....but we may have a new leader.

Richard Ellerbrake August 21, 2008 9:02PM EST

As a former healthcare system CEO for many years at Deaconess), I can't help but wonder how he got away with it. It shows the importance of good management, good systems, and good oversight starting with the board of directors.

Patricia Hooper August 21, 2008 8:33PM EST

OMG!!! How dispicable can you be? I am so shocked and saddened by all of this. My younger brother has been helped tremendously by this organization, because of being born severly club footed. This is one great organization!!! Love yah Shriners! My family is extremely greatful for you. I hope this scumbag gets what he deserves!!! This truly makes me sick!!! Now, those poor children, what will some do? This is so not fair to take from someone less fortunate than yourself!!! Should be stoned for this. I am very appalled!!! God will get you!!!

gary hall August 21, 2008 6:59PM EST

as a shriner, i would hope that he gets all 20 years, in open population, and not in one of the "hotel prisons". yes the whole 20 years behind bars. ! you don't mess with the kids !

Ted August 21, 2008 4:39PM EST

What a freakin scumbag!!! There is a law (as opposed to there ought to be one) and I hope they throw the book at him and he gets humbled by some serious hard-core jail time.

5a6d15ea-232f-41ea-8a4d-d335fc2db2e5.MjQyNjIwOTozOjFBYjdRVWZSRGJa August 21, 2008 4:37PM EST how low can you go!!!

Further Reading:

Pillars of the Community

The Royal Order of Jesters - The Shriners Secret Society Secret Society - 'Mirth is King'

The Shriners - The 'Krafty' Klowns