Former IHC Employee Sent to Prison for Embezzling

Former IHC Employee Sent to Prison for Embezzling

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A former Intermountain Health Care employee has been sentenced to prison for embezzling $2.6 million.

Ralph J. Hansen, who was the retirement fund manager for IHC, told a 3rd District judge at a May change-of-plea hearing that most of the money went to charity.

On Monday, the 53-year-old Sandy resident said he now realizes the funds he set up were not charities, but he still insisted the sporting and cultural organizations he sponsored benefited the community.

Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Clark Harms said Hansen's charitable motives were self-serving.

"He sets up a dance studio with an instructor because his daughter likes to dance," Harms said. "He creates the Salt Ratz (soccer team) because his son likes to play soccer."

Judge Robin Reese ordered Hansen to repay the stolen $2.6 million, as well as $215,000 to cover earnings lost by IHC during the course of the embezzlement scheme, which ran from 1996 to 2004.

Defense attorney Barton Warren asked for probation rather than prison.

But prosecutors, IHC officials and pre-sentence investigators all said Hansen deserved consecutive prison terms.

Hansen pleaded guilty in May to money laundering count and three counts of theft, each punishable by one to 15 years in prison.

Reese suggested the money laundering term to run consecutively to the concurrent theft terms. The actual time served will be up to the parole board.

Hansen stole the cash by convincing IHC executives that because the company was expanding, he needed to outsource some of his work.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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