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Diane Bowler Pleads Guilty to Stealing from Prism Career Institute

The Washington Township, Gloucester County woman could spend 10 years in prison for the theft.

A Washington Township, Gloucester County, woman faces 10 years in federal prison and hefty fines after pleaded guilty in Camden federal court to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars by fraud over a three-year period from a Cherry Hill-based post-secondary school.

Diane Bowler, 53, a former vice president of operations at Prism Career Institute, which has campuses in Cherry Hill, Egg Harbor Township, Philadelphia and Upper Darby, PA, pleaded guilty to embezzling, stealing, and obtaining by fraud money belonging to the institute, which receives federal funding from the Department of Education.

From 2008 through 2011, Bowler admitted to stealing more than $400,000 via fraudulent reimbursement requests. In her position, Bowler was authorized to make purchases on behalf of Prism on her personal credit cards, with the company reimbursing her for the receipts.

But Bowler put in requests for supplies, furniture, equipment, and other items that never made it to Prism—in fact, some of the invoices she submitted were for old purchases, but with new dates and invoice numbers copied and pasted on top of the old ones, while others were spun out of thin air, with Bowler putting together invoices from vendors Prism no longer used.

Bowler also admitted to forging the school CEO’s signature on reimbursement checks, and would in some cases sign the checks herself before depositing them in her personal account.

Because she stole from a school receiving federal funding, Bowler faces 10 years in prison and as much as a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb scheduled Bowler’s sentencing for Jan. 7, 2013.

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