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John Paul Funes, the former chief fundraiser for Our Lady of the Lake hospitals, leaves U.S. District Court after being sentenced to 33 months in prison and repay $796,000 in restitution Thursday Oct. 24, 2019, in Baton Rouge. His title was president and CEO of the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation. He pleaded guilty in June 2019 to wire fraud and money laundering.

Former Our Lady of the Lake Foundation head John Paul Funes, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to embezzling nearly $800,000 from the hospital system's nonprofit fundraising arm, has been moved to home confinement after serving nearly half of his 33-month federal prison term, his attorney said Friday.

Funes was moved Feb. 26 from a federal prison to home confinement under the authorization of the CARES Act due to COVID-19 protocols, said Walt Green, who represents Funes. He does not have the coronavirus, Green added.

"While his offenses overshadowed his role in helping to build the Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital and other charitable causes, John Paul is remorseful and looks forward to completing the sentence imposed by the court to that he can continue to make amends by committing himself to serve our community when he is allowed to do so," Green said in a written statement.

U.S. District Judge John deGravelles sentenced Funes in October 2019. He reported to prison in December of that year. Funes paid more than $796,000 in court-ordered restitution. He had pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

Funes will be on supervised release for two years after he completes his 33-month sentence.

Funes admitted stealing gift cards meant for cancer patients, flying family and friends to LSU and New Orleans Saints football games on charter flights labeled as “outbound patient transports,” and sending money to people who did little to no work for the OLOL Foundation.

His fraudulent activities occurred over a seven-year period, beginning in 2012.

Federal prosecutors have said Funes falsified dozens of payment vouchers and created fictitious records to disguise the thefts.

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Including incentives and other benefits, Funes was paid more than $350,000 in 2017 by the Foundation.

Hospital auditors uncovered Funes' questionable transactions in August 2018, then investigated. Funes was fired in November of that year.

Prosecutors alleged Funes submitted vouchers to pay home medical care for a Children's Hospital patient, then sent checks totaling $107,000 to an unnamed Florida resident and the person's daughter. Neither were patients at the hospital, but Funes had a close relationship with their family. The pair — identified in court documents only as individuals "A" and "B" — then sent about $63,000 back to Funes.

A source close to the case, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak about the case publicly, said those persons are the mother and sister of former LSU quarterback Rohan Davey. They have not been charged in the case.

Davey was no longer at LSU when the alleged payments were made.

Funes also submitted and approved dozens of payments to individuals “who did little to no work for the Foundation” but to whom Funes wanted to provide financial assistance, including an Individual “C” who received about $180,000 in Foundation funds, according to court documents.

That $180,000 went to James Alexander, the father of then-LSU offensive lineman Vadal Alexander, a source close to the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity, has confirmed. Vadal Alexander was a four-year starter for the Tigers from 2012 to 2016.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.