The former head of health IT at a San Diego County nonprofit provider has been charged with submitting almost $800,000 in fake invoices and telling purchasing staff that the entire clinic's computer system would be shut down without expedient payment. The theft occurred over an eight-month period in 2015, prosecutors said.
Hector Ramos pleaded not guilty to 49 counts related to the theft from North County Health Services, according to an article from The San Diego Tribune. Ramos' attorney said during the arraignment that he is a "very credible individual," according to the article.
Prosecutors said he created two fraudulent corporations that he then used to submit false invoices to the clinic, according to the article. But assistants reported the situation to officials at the clinic, according to the article, who investigated the two companies.
Bank statements for the corporations did not show purchases of computer equipment but instead spending on clothes, international vacations and other "lavish" purchases.
North County Health Services' insurer has filed a civil claim against Ramos for the $800,000.
The case is similar to another recent one at the Cleveland Clinic. Gary Fingerhut, the former head of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, pleaded guilty for his role in defrauding the academic medical center of more than $2.7 million using a shell company.
Federal authorities said that Fingerhut received at least $469,000 in payments to cover up the fraud. He will be sentenced on Jan. 30 and faces a likely prison term.