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SW Mo. woman admits embezzling more than $717,000

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A former administrative assistant for a southwest Missouri nursing college has admitted embezzling more than $717,000 from the school and its parent health care system.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says 39-year-old Amy Elaine Phillips, of Republic, pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft of program funds and tax evasion.

Phillips worked from 2001 to early 2009 for St. John’s Mercy Health Care Systems’ College of Nursing, which is located at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar.

Phillips admitted intercepting checks intended for St. John’s and the College of Nursing and diverting them to personal accounts. She also admitted failing to report the stolen money as income.

In her plea, Phillips agreed to repay the stolen funds and to pay more than $115,000 in taxes and penalties. She also faces up to 15 years in prison.

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