Audit Details Problems at UCI’s Willed Body Program
An internal audit of the University of California-Irvine Willed Body Program released Wednesday reveals how former program director Christopher Brown misappropriated money and "left the program's records in such disarray" that nearly 75% of donated bodies cannot be identified, the Orange County Register reports. The 17-month audit "confirms earlier reports" and "offers more depth" for the UCI and Orange County District Attorney's Office case against Brown, who was fired in September 1999. The Orange County Register reports that the audit's "biggest revelation" may be that the program can only account for 121 of the 441 bodies donated to UCI between January 1995 and August 1999 (Heisel, Orange County Register, 12/7). However, the Los Angeles Times reports that those dates indicate that the program's record-keeping problems started before Brown took over the program in May 1996. The audit found that Brown "improperly solicited cash donations" for the program and overcharged UCI for travel expenses. In addition, the audit confirmed previous media reports that families "may have received the wrong remains or been improperly billed for the return of the relatives' ashes" (Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times, 12/7). Brown, who denies UCI's allegations, has not been charged with a crime, but he is being sued by more than a dozen UCI donor families and has filed for bankruptcy. With the audit results, Orange County Assistant District Attorney Bob Molko said that his office will finish the investigation. He added, "There's a great deal of difference between an entity alleging something and proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt" (Heisel, Orange County Register, 12/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.