John Paul Funes sentencing set for Oct. 17

    Former hospital fundraiser John Paul Funes is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 17 for stealing $550,000 from the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation, which he headed for more than a decade.

    A federal judge in Funes’ case set the sentencing date last week, following the completion of a presentencing investigation that was submitted to the court by the U.S. Probation Office. The report is sealed.

    In late June, Funes pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of wire fraud in connection with the scheme, which was first announced by the hospital last November.

    Federal charging documents say Funes stole the foundation’s money over the course of several years by falsifying  payment vouchers then using the money to fly family and friends to LSU and New Orleans Saints football games under the guise of “patient transports.” He also is accused of buying gift cards he said were for cancer victims then using them for his personal benefit.

    In the two months since Funes’ guilty plea before U.S. District Judge John DeGravelles, prosecutors have been conducting discovery to determine the extent of his assets in an effort to recover the stolen money.

    Though Funes pleaded guilty to stealing $550,000, OLOL officials say he actually took $810,000 from the foundation and that they intend to collect the full amount.

    Sources familiar with the case say $550,000 should not be seen as a specific dollar figure but rather a minimum amount.  

    Funes’ plea agreement specifies that any assets forfeited prior to sentencing will be counted towards the restitution he ultimately owes.

    Though federal sentencing guidelines indicate he could spend as much as 20 years in prison, legal experts have said a sentence of 2-4 years is more likely.

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