ATLANTA — A judge sentenced a former employee of the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta to two years and six months in prison and ordered him to repay $1 million embezzled from the center.
In a sentencing hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Julie Carnes also ordered 42-year-old Ralph Clark of Ellenwood, Georgia, to spend three years on supervised release after completing his prison sentence.
Clark pleaded guilty in April 2013 to embezzling more than $1.1 million from the arts center, where he worked as director of facilities until he was fired in October 2012.
"Today's sentencing brings to a close an unfortunate tale of betrayal and greed," said Ricky Maxwell, acting special agent in charge of the FBI office in Atlanta.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Clark was authorized to approve vendor contracts up to $50,000. She said he embezzled money by submitting invoices for bogus expenses to the art center's accounts payable department. Clark would pick up the checks for the payments and deposit them into accounts he controlled.
Some of the invoices were from his wife's apartment cleaning business, but the services were either not provided or performed by Clark himself, she said.
The center began an internal audit after a supervisor raised questions about invoices submitted by Clark.
The Woodruff Arts Center includes the Alliance Theatre, High Museum of Art, Young Audiences, 14th Street Playhouse and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.