GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — A former account manager at Trinity Health in Grand Haven is facing trial for allegedly stealing $2.27 million from the hospital.
Court documents obtained by News 8 accuse 60-year-old Cindy Norgren of Spring Lake of embezzling money from the hospital for nearly three years.
Grand Haven police said the embezzlement started in January 2020 and went through December 2022, when a Trinity Health employee told police that Macatawa Bank found suspicious activity in the hospital’s account.
The money went from the bank to an account at Lake Trust Credit Union titled CMN Enterprises, police said. That account was registered in Norgren’s name. From there, using online banking, Norgren would send the money to multiple credit cards, investigators say. Macatawa Bank found that she made about 300 transactions over three years.
Kelly Paxton, a former U.S. Customs investigator and certified fraud examiner, has studied embezzlement cases for more than 20 years.
“It’s always the person you don’t really expect,” Paxton said. “We work with people we know, like and trust. But we never know what’s going on because closed doors.”
Paxton said the case against Norgren was brought much faster than others, with police learning about it in December and arresting her in early February.
“I think it’s probably a pretty strong case based on the quick action,” Paxton said.
Once in November, toward the end of Norgren’s alleged embezzlement, police found that she sent $60,000 to her Chase credit card.
“Usually, the number gets bigger over time the number gets bigger,” Paxton said. “I’ve had a case where it started as a mistake and they realized no one paid attention to it, so it just went on and on.”
“They never steal a check for $2.26 million,” she added. “It’s smaller amounts over time. A lot of them think they’re going to pay it back.”
Paxton said many embezzlement cases don’t even go to trial because the evidence is crystal clear.
“They don’t go to trial because the money is gone,” Paxton said. “There’s a very clear trail. She put money on credit cards. There’s a very clear trail.”
Though Norgren’s embezzlement reportedly lasted nearly three years, Paxton said that length is actually “very typical.”
“I’ve seen as long as 20 years,” Paxton said. “They say on average, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, it’s about 18 months before people get caught.”
News 8 asked Trinity Health Grand Haven what changes it is making to prevent this from happening again. The hospital did not address that or any other questions, instead providing a brief statement:
“We are working closely with law enforcement and referring questions to the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety during this active investigation,” the hospital said.
It’s unclear what Norgran may have done with the money and the hospital didn’t say if any of it has been recovered.
She has been charged with two felonies, embezzling $100,000 or more and using a computer to commit a crime. If convicted, she could face more than 40 years in prison. On Thursday, the case was sent to circuit court, where Norgren is scheduled to appear March 27.