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University receives $1 million insurance payment on bookstore theft

Friday, July 12, 2013

Plaster Student Union at nightMissouri State University has received an insurance check in its claim resulting from the theft by its former bookstore manager, Mark Brixey. The university received and deposited a check for $1 million from Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, underwriter for Zurich American Insurance Company, the company that had the university’s employee theft policy.

“We very much appreciate Zurich American working with us, accepting our investigative documents and issuing the check,” said Missouri State University President Clifton M. Smart III.  “This check does not negate the criminal act or minimize the damage it has done to the university’s reputation, but it does recover a significant portion of the funds that rightfully belonged to the university and its students.”

Missouri State had a documented loss of $1,210,701.18, after recovering more than $81,000 in cash from Brixey’s desk. In addition to the insurance proceeds, Missouri State hopes to receive certificates of deposit seized by the government which are subject to a forfeiture proceeding. There was a $5,000 deductible on the policy.

Smart said the $1 million would be placed in a separate fund until there was a final plan developed for its distribution.

The case began on Aug. 2, 2012, when approximately $81,000 in cash was found in Brixey’s desk as part of a routine audit. Within a week, the university’s internal auditors determined that more than $400,000 was missing over a three-year period. Instead of meeting with university officials to answer questions, Brixey resigned on Aug. 17. The case was turned over to law enforcement officials at that point, while the university’s internal auditors continued to compile supporting documentation for the remainder of the loss.

On March 26, 2013, following an investigation by local, state and federal officials, Brixey pled guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $1.1 million by pocketing the money from the parts of the textbook buyback program. He waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to a federal information that charged him with wire fraud, money laundering and filing a false tax return. Brixey is scheduled to be sentenced at a hearing on Aug. 29.

“I again want to pay tribute to our office of internal audit staff, and especially Tami Reed,” said Smart. “They deserve credit for identifying this issue and for pursuing it thoroughly and effectively. Without their solid work, the criminal case would have been much more tedious and the insurance payment would have been much more difficult to obtain. We owe them a debt of gratitude.”

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 About Missouri State University
Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive metropolitan system with a statewide mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons. The university’s identity is distinguished by its public affairs mission, which entails a campus-wide commitment to foster expertise and responsibility in ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement.

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