Tampa, Florida – 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.
This case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jay G. Trezevant and Julie Simonsen.
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