OLOL Foundation says over $800K stolen from former Foundation President

News

The results are in and the price tag is pricey as OLOL now knows how much money was taken from the foundation by it’s former president.

Our Lady of the Lake Hospital issued the following statement today:

“Working with a leading independent third-party financial audit firm, we have recently completed a comprehensive evaluation of fraudulent activities committed by Mr. John Paul Funes and the safeguards we have in place to protect our ministry and the funds we raise through our Foundation. 

We’ve identified approximately $810,000 lost due to fraudulent activity committed by Mr. Funes, former president of the Foundation. We will complete replacement of those funds within the next 30 days and will seek restitution from Mr. Funes. 

The work by the independent third-party firm has confirmed that Mr. Funes acted alone and was the only member of the organization involved. Over several years, he orchestrated a series of fraudulent transactions that involved the purchase and distribution of gift cards, charter flights and payments to individuals, including forged documents, invoices and signatures. He misled hundreds of people in and outside of our organization. 

The forensic investigation also revealed two questionable issues that warranted we notify legal counsel for LSU. Since we are not involved and the outcome does not impact our operations, we will not have any further details or comments on this issue. 

Although no system is foolproof, we will do everything we can to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Our donors’ contributions are safe and being used with integrity and responsible purpose. The work we’ve done with the third-party audit has given us a clear roadmap to address the vulnerabilities Mr. Funes exposed. We’ve already begun immediate changes including additional approvals for expenditures and more oversight on adherence to our policies and processes. 

We continue to cooperate with law enforcement. We remain shocked and appalled by Mr. Funes’ fraudulent activities and are truly sorry for the harm that he has caused our community.” 

Statement from Julio Melara, Chairman of the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation and Member of the Our Lady of the Lake Board – “The results of the third-party investigation have provided our ministry with the answers to how we fell victim to Mr. Funes’ pattern of deception and offer a clear path forward to make sure this never happens again. Mr. Funes acted alone and abused the trust he had gained over nearly two decades. 

We remain grateful for your continued prayers and devotion to our Foundation and the Sisters’ ministry in Louisiana.” 

Statement from K. Scott Wester, Our Lady of the Lake President & CEO – “The situation that occurred in our Foundation has hurt so many people and we’ve been working to understand the details in order to put things right and move forward. My promise is integrity for everyone in the community and the organization to ensure the contributions to our ministry are protected and safe and going toward the good work that our donors trust and expect.”

There is no word yet on what criminal charges if any, will be pressed against Funes.

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