Madison woman sentenced for misuse of federal grant

A former Madison woman was sentenced in federal court in Hartford Friday to 15 months in prison followed by three years supervised release for making false statements about her use of federal grant money.

Amy Kuhner, 55, pleaded guilty in July to one count of making false statements about her use of federal funds during her time as the executive director of Sunshine House, an organization formed for the purpose of constructing a facility in Madison to care for seriously ill children. She also was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

In September 2001, Sunshine House received an $836,190 from the Health Resources Services Administration to pay for part of the construction. As executive director of Sunshine House, Kuhner exercised exclusive control over the money.

In July 2007, after all of the funds had been drawn down, HRSA, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asked Sunshine House to provide documentation of costs incurred. In pleading guilty, Kuhner admitted sending to HRSA false documentation of architectural and engineering costs in the amount of $594,225.

In fact, from September 2001 through September 2006, most of Kuhner’s gross salary — $417,932 — and health insurance benefits — $22,294 — had been paid with the grant funds.

In addition, Kuhner used grant funds to pay her salary in 2007 and 2008, after the grant had closed.

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