Police: Local man scammed nurses union for $100,000
BURRILLVILLE – A local man who worked for one of the state’s largest health care unions has been charged by the state police with embezzling more than $100,000 from the organization’s continuing education program – a loss that caused the program to fold.
Christopher G. Matteson, 33, of 245 Log Road, was arrested at home Tuesday morning on four counts – felony embezzlement; forgery and counterfeiting; obtaining money under false pretenses; and soliciting another to commit a crime, State Police Supt. Col. Ann C. Assumpico said.
The crimes allegedly occurred from June 2016 through July 2017, while Matteson was employed by the United Nurses & Allied Professionals (UNAP) as the executive director of its “Stepping Up” program. Assumpico said an investigation began in August 2017, when representatives of UNAP/ RI, contacted the state police Financial Crimes Unit, saying they suspected that Matteson had pilfered funds from the union’s bank accounts.
The investigation showed that Matteson allegedly stole $109,000 during the period he was in charge of the Stepping Up program.
The Stepping Up program was an educational trust co-funded by UNAP/ RI, Rhode Island Hospital and grants. The program provided continuing education programs and job training for health care workers at Rhode Island Hospital. Union officials told investigators that the financial losses caused by Matteson’s unlawful actions
resulted in the eventual collapse of the program, according to Assumpico.
UNAP represents some 6,500 nurses, technologists, therapists, support staff, and other health care workers employed at hospitals and other health care facilities throughout New England, including Landmark Medical Center and Seven Hills Rhode Island, both in Woonsocket; Fatima Hospital in North Providence; and Rhode Island Hospital and Women & Infants Hospital, both in Providence.
The union’s website describes the Stepping Up program as a “highly regarded
health care career ladder program” that helped unemployed residents obtain education and training for jobs in health care. During a three year period prior to the collapse of the program, Stepping Up program pre-employment training, career counseling and academic guidance to 128 individuals – 87 of whom later obtained jobs. The program provided assistance to another 176 entry-level employees, enabling them to return to school to pursue a degree as registered nurses and other specialized health care jobs.
In just three years, Stepping Up has provided pre-employment training, career counseling, and academic advising to 128 community residents (87 of whom later obtained jobs), and over 175 entry-level hospital employees who returned to school to pursue a degrees as registered nurse or other specialized health care professionals.
Matteson was arraigned in Sixth District Court following his arrest.
He was released on $10,000 personal recognizance pending another hearing on Aug. 7, according to the judiciary’s web site.
Christopher G. Matteson