CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – The former chief operating officer of a Morgantown medical practice and one of its physicians have been charged with stealing more than $650,000 from their employer.
Francisco Ortiz, age 48, of Vacaville, California, and James Brooks Mersing, 35, of Morgantown, have been indicted on charges of defrauding Wedgewood Physicians, Inc. According to the indictment, Ortiz used his position as COO to divert funds over a three-year period for his personal benefit and for the benefit of Mersing, a physician formerly employed by Wedgewood.
Ortiz is alleged to have used the funds to pay for personal travel, home improvements, and various items from Amazon, among other things. Ortiz is also alleged to have caused unauthorized bonuses to be paid to Mersing, who then returned a portion of the money to Ortiz as a kickback.
“White-collar crime costs the United States hundreds of billions of dollars each year,” said United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld. “The Department of Justice will continue to pursue white-collar wrongdoers and hold them accountable for their misconduct.”
Ortiz faces thirty-one counts of bank fraud and Mersing faces eleven counts. Each count carries a penalty of up to thirty years in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Wagner is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24