By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On October 25, 2016, former MetroHealth Medical Center Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Dental Director Edward Hills was charged for running an intricate bribery and kickback scheme selling positions in the medical center’s residency program. According to an unsealed indictment in Ohio federal court, three other former hospital dentists were also charged for being involved in the conspiracy. MetroHealth Medical Center is located in Cleveland, Ohio and is an integrated health system that sees around one million patients a year.
Bribed With Lavish Gifts and Cash.
Hills also served as MetroHealth’s interim president and chief executive officer. Allegedly, Hills started receiving lavish gifts back in 2008. These gifts included a $3,879 Louis Vuitton briefcase, a 55-inch television, as well as cash and checks from the three dentists. Being the director of MetroHealth Dental, Hills allegedly used his title to inflate monthly bonuses to $92,829. Hills also had residents working at private clinics and charged it to the hospital, according to the prosecutor’s statement on October 25, 2016.
Guaranteed A Spot In Dentistry Program.
Edward Hills solicited bribes from attending dentists Sari Alqsous, Yazan Al-Madani and Tariq Sayegh to pay them for working full-time at MetroHealth, while the three ran their own clinics. Allegedly, Alqsous, Al-Madani and Sayegh were guaranteed residencies in the Dentistry program at MetroHealth by Hills in exchange for bribes.
Hills and the three other dentists are charged with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act violations, multiple counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and obstruction of justice. In addition, Hills is charged with making false claims on his tax returns. The monies coming from this kickbacks and bribes were also allegedly not included in his tax returns.
The three dentists, Alqsous, Al-Madani and Sayegh, also allegedly accepted more than $75,000 in bribes from the Jordanian perspective dental residents for admittance into the MetroHealth dental residency program. Hills took advantage of the residents even further by using unpaid dental residents to staff Alqsous and Al-Madani’s private clinics.
The indictment also states that Hills allegedly gave the attorney that was representing him in foreclosure proceedings free dental work including implants and crowns. The dental work was done by another dentist who falsely claimed that the services were for educational purposes.
The IRS’ Kathy A. Enstrom from the criminal division stated, “These government-funded programs were designed to help the men, women and children of Cuyahoga County, but these individuals defrauded them for their own personal gain and used their companies as personal piggy banks.”
After more investigation into the scheme in 2014, Hills and the three dentist allegedly threatened anyone who had knowledge of their actions with criminal and civil litigation, termination and deportation.
Consult With An Attorney Experienced in the Representation of Dentists.
We routinely provide legal representation to dentists, dental hygienists and other health professionals being in licensure, administrative and criminal cases, negligence cases, civil cases or disciplinary cases involving other health professionals. We also represent professionals in defense of Medicare and Medicaid fraud allegations, actions for overpayments, False Claims Act (whistle blower) cases, and civil monetary penalty cases.
The lawyers of The Health Law Firm are experienced in both formal and informal administrative hearings and in representing dentists and dental hygienists and other health professionals in investigations and at Board of dentistry hearings and other legal matters. Call now or visit our website www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
Rhodes, Adam. “Ex-Hospital COO Indicted In Dental Program Bribery Scheme.” Law360. (October 25, 2016). Web.
Heisig, Eric. “Former MetroHealth Executive Arrested In Federal Criminal Probe.”Cleveland Court Justice. (October 25, 2016). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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