SYRACUSE, N.Y. — David R. Smith, former president of SUNY Upstate Medical University, on Monday was sentenced for “corrupting his position and using funding streams under his control to illicitly increase his personal compensation,” New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott announced.
Smith was sentenced in Syracuse City Court to more than $250,000 in restitution and fines and three years of probation for his Sept. 24 guilty plea to three counts of the crime of official misconduct, according to a news release from Leahy Scott.
Smith served as president of Upstate Medical University from September 2006 to November 2013, when he resigned.
“This defendant exploited his university’s lax oversight with cynical and thieving schemes to pad his own income,” Leahy Scott said in the release. “He shamelessly violated the trust of his position, prioritizing his own illicit financial gains over patient care and medical education that should have been his primary concerns. Through new leadership and findings from my ongoing investigation, we can help ensure such corrupt dealings at this premier institute never happen again.”
An investigation by the inspector general found Smith, who resigned his position in November 2013, used several funding streams under his control to “improperly pad” his personal income. Leahy Scott said Smith did the following:
- directed his subordinate to approve three unauthorized raises of about $37,000 in 2007-2008, through the SUNY Research Foundation, for Smith’s benefit. He received the proceeds from those raises through the date of his resignation, totaling about $245,000 in additional salary he would not have otherwise earned;
- received more than $300,000 through a pass-through arrangement with a pediatric group that was not authorized;
- submitted, approved, collected, and received unauthorized reimbursements of more than $187,000 for housing expenses above and beyond his authorized $5,000 per month housing allowance, by submitting receipts and credit-card statements for reimbursement of expenses to which he was not entitled, and by orchestrating an increase in his Medical Service Group supplement to cover housing expenses, which he wasn’t supposed to receive; and
- directed and oversaw the creation of an unauthorized deferred-compensation plan through MedBest Medical Management, Inc. for the benefit of himself and others, without the authorization or knowledge of the SUNY chancellor.
Under a prearranged plea agreement, Smith is required to pay $247,419.95 in restitution and $3,000 in fines.
Leahy Scott said her investigation into Smith’s activities as president, as well as Upstate Medical University’s “lax oversight” of his activities, is continuing.
New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood and her office prosecuted the case.
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