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OLOL CEO lifts silence amid embezzlement scandal by former foundation president

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BATON ROUGE- Our Lady of the Lake CEO Scott Wester spoke for the first time Tuesday, a week after a scandal at its fundraising foundation rocked Baton Rouge.

John Paul Funes was terminated after an internal audit revealed money went missing and documents were falsified. District Attorney Hillar Moore was contacted last week and immediately turned the investigation over to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.

Donors in the philanthropic communities were stunned – and are puzzled about what happened.

The audit showed issues over the last year. But, a deeper look is now underway as the investigation spans other years to see if allegations stretch further back.

Wester spoke with WBRZ outside of a groundbreaking Tuesday.

"On behalf of everyone's commitment to the Children's Hospital, I can't thank you enough," Wester said. "I know it's been a difficult week for the community. We will get through this, and things will be ok."

The district attorney told WBRZ last week, auditors found three different ways money was being funneled away from the OLOL Foundation. It was described as a complex scheme where hundreds of thousands of dollars was missing.

Last week, hospital leaders said they would seek full restitution from Funes and this type of behavior is not tolerated.

"This is under a criminal investigation, I can't really comment any further on that," Wester said Tuesday.

Funes earned nearly $300,000 per year after bonuses. The OLOL Foundation reported recent assets totaling more than $40 million according to public records.

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