Former COO, dental director & 3 dentists at Cleveland hospital found guilty in kickback scheme

Dentists

Cleveland-based MetroHealth Hospital System's former COO and Dental Director Edward Hills, DDS, as well as three MetroHealth dentists were found guilty of defrauding the hospital in an eight-year bribery and kickback scheme, according to WKYC3.com.

Sari Alqsous, DDS, Yazan Al-Madani, DDS, and Tariq Sayegh, DDS, were the three dentists involved in the fraud scheme that totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to court documents, Dr. Alqsous, Dr. Al-Madani and Dr. Hills were involved in a racketeering conspiracy.

Dr. Hills received various gifts from the dentists, including cash, checks, briefcases and use of a downtown apartment. In return, Drs. Alqsous and Al-Madani were allowed to operate private practices while earning full-time salaries from MetroHealth.

When Dr. Hills became CEO of MetroHealth in December 2012, he instructed Drs. Alqsous and Al-Madani to purchase a $3,879 briefcase. Dr. Alqsous was also told to continue renting out an apartment for Dr. Hills' associate. The apartment was rented out for Dr. Hills in 2013 and 2014.

During his tenure as director of MetroHealth Dental, Dr. Hills determined the monthly bonuses for dentists who provided services that exceeded their monthly salary and benefits. Dentists usually earned a monthly bonus totaling 25 percent of the money they produced from the excess services.

Between 2010 and 2014, however, Drs. Alqsous, Al-Madani and others received bonuses totaling $92,829. The dentists also welcomed the hospital's dental residents to practice at their private clinics without paying them. Drs. Alqsous and Sayegh often had input on the select few residents asked to join MetroHealth.

Drs. Alqsous, Sayegh and Al-Madani solicited $75,000 in bribes from resident candidates between 2008 and 2014, according to WKYC3.com. Additionally, Drs. Al-Madani and Alqsous paid Dr. Hills in exchange for him referring Medicaid patients to their private practices instead of MetroHealth.

Court documents also showed Dr. Hills as well as Drs. Alqsous and Al-Madani conspired to obstruct justice after becoming aware of a federal investigation in 2014. Sentencing for the four involved is scheduled Nov. 27.

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