Fired FSU employee pleads guilty to felony theft, sentenced to two and a half years in prison

Former FSU employee Robert Walmsley, 35, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty in Middlesex Superior Court on March 6 to charges he stole over $110,000 from the university.

Once released from prison, Walmsley, who pleaded guilty to three counts of larceny over $250 and two counts of presenting a fraudulent claim to employer for payment, will be placed on five years’ probation. Walmsley will be regularly drug screened as a condition of his probation.

A restitution hearing will be held on May 19 to determine the amount Walmsley will pay back to FSU.

The March 6 guilty plea brought to an end a nearly two-year investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office into the suspicious spending habits of the former assistant director of Alumni Relations.

According to a March 6, 2015 press release from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, the investigation began in July 2013 after FSU officials expressed their concerns about Walmsley’s use of his FSU-issued procurement card to the Attorney General’s Office. Walmsley was later arrested on Aug 5, 2014.

According to an August 2014 press release from the office of former Massachusetts’ Attorney General Martha Coakley, Walmsley was terminated from his position as FSU’s assistant director of alumni relations in June 2013 after school officials discovered he had charged the university over $100,000 in illegitimate expenses to “fund his drug use.” The Attorney General alleged that Walmsley spent the majority of the stolen funds on cocaine.

Walmsley, an FSU alumni, is believed to have stolen the $110,000 using an FSU-issued procurement card between July 2011 and May 2013. During this time, Walmsley sent in falsified monthly expense reports to the university to justify his spending.

“He signed and submitted those fraudulent documents … to FSU, falsely claiming they were for work-authorized purchases,” according to Healey’s press release.

Procurement cards are company charge cards assigned to employees and they are intended to be spent on company-related business expenses.

Once Walmsley’s misuse of his FSU-issued procurement card was discovered, university officials temporarily shut down the use of all employee charge cards. However, limited usage of FSU-issued procurement cards was re-introduced at the end of September 2013.

Director of Communications for FSU Dan Magazu said the university had no comment regarding Walmsley’s guilty plea and prison sentence.

(Editor’s Note: for more on the use of procurement cards at FSU, read  “Procurement cards re-introduced after alleged embezzlement incident” By Kerrin Murrary in the Nov 22, 2013 edition of The Gatepost.)