Former University of Louisville Education Dean Robert Felner issued a guilty plea in federal court Friday to charges stemming from his misuse of federal grant funds. Felner’s plea could help him avoid decades of prison time.
Felner’s plea agreement includes a sentence of five years and three months in jail and more than 2.2 million dollars in restitution payments. 510 thousand dollars of which will go to U of L, while the rest will be sent to institutions in Rhode Island, where Felner worked before coming to Lousiville.
Felner was facing up to 75 years in prison and 2.25 million dollars in payouts if convicted by a jury. Scott Cox is his defense attorney.
“If we went to trial and lost, and I do think they had a strong tax case against him, he could have potentially received a much higher sentence,” he says.
Some U of L administrators have faced criticism for not catching Felner earlier, but spokesperson Mark Hebert says it was the school that first reported Felner to authorities.
“I think the University of Louisville acted as prudently as it could at the time, made some mistakes, owned up to those mistakes and is now ready to move on,” he says.
A judge is reviewing the plea agreement and will formally sentence Felner on April 16th.