Former Saint Francis Ministries officials indicted

A spokesperson for Saint Francis Ministries said Friday that a federal indictment has been filed against its former CEO and a past IT director.
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 6:04 PM CST
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SALINA, Kan. (WOWT) - A spokesperson for Saint Francis Ministries said Friday that a federal indictment has been filed against its former CEO and a past IT director.

According to a Friday news release from Saint Francis, the indictment was filed against former CEO and President Rev. Robert N. Smith and former IT Director William Whymark.

“As the case moves forward, Saint Francis will continue to work transparently and collaboratively with federal authorities as part of the investigative process,” the release states. “We appreciate the diligence exhibited in the pursuit of justice by all parties.”

Here in Nebraska, an Inspector General report in September 2021 found Saint Francis was failing to meet requirements on caseload ratios, monthly visits with kids, and timely case documentation. The state Department of Health and Human Services ended its contract with Saint Francis in December 2021, about two months after state lawmakers heard testimony about the origins of its contract with DHHS for its child welfare services.

DHHS then transitioned case management back into the hands of the state.

According to KWCH, the indictment accuses former CEO and President Rev. Robert Smith and former CIO William Whymark of conspiring and engaging in a scheme to defraud Saint Francis Ministries out of millions of dollars. The indictment states it happened through the submission and approval of materially false invoices resulting in fraudulent payments of more than $4 million.

Two months ago — a year after the inspector general’s report — one state senator asked state Attorney General Doug Peterson to keep evidence that would affect the state’s claim against Saint Francis after new reports surfaced in Kansas about a civil asset forfeiture case.

Digital Director Gina Dvorak contributed to this report. KWCH contributed to this report.