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Former education dean enters guilty pleas

by UofL Today last modified Jan 08, 2010 05:52 PM

The former University of Louisville dean accused of funneling millions of dollars of grant money for personal use pleaded guilty Jan. 8 to federal charges.

Robert Felner, former dean of the College of Education and Human Development at UofL, pleaded guilty to nine federal charges, including mail fraud, income tax evasion and money laundering in U.S. District Court at Louisville. As part of his plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's office, Felner will pay UofL $510,000 in restitution and will have a prison sentence of 63 months. The agreement is pending approval by U.S. District Judge Charles Simpson III.

A federal grand jury in Louisville indicted Felner in October 2008 after a UofL police and FBI investigation uncovered evidence that he was funneling money through nonprofit centers he helped create at UofL and at the University of Rhode Island and spending it on property and other personal items.

"Mr. Felner's guilty plea will prompt few tears on the University of Louisville campus. An extraordinarily talented man has violated the trust of UofL administrators, faculty and staff and, perhaps most importantly, taxpayers," said UofL spokesman Mark Hebert.

"It's time for Mr. Felner to be held accountable for his criminal acts and we're glad that's happening. This will close the book on Mr. Felner as far as we're concerned. Under the direction of interim dean Blake Haselton, the faculty and staff in the College of Education and Human Development have moved on, producing terrific graduates and topnotch research. We're proud of the work they're doing." 

 Simpson set an April 16 sentencing date.

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