Ex-worker at Pittsburgh medical practice admits embezzling $800K-plus

Editor’s note — as you may know, we normally confine ourselves to investigating dental office embezzlement.  However, we do provide reporting on significant embezzlements in medical offices because the methodologies employed have considerable commonality.

A former office manager of Pittsburgh Ear Nose and Throat Associates admitted Friday that she embezzled more than $800,000 from the medical practice over five years.

Regina Lewis, 47, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon to a count of embezzlement in connection with health care.

Judge Bissoon will sentence her in August.

Ms. Lewis and her lawyer, Ryan Tutera, declined to comment as they left the courtroom.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Melucci said Ms. Lewis, who lives in the borough of Liberty outside McKeesport, managed the practice’s six locations from its Liberty Avenue office in Bloomfield and was responsible for paying bills, depositing checks and other financial oversight.

He said that from 2011 to 2016, she deposited company checks into her own PNC Bank account and made purchases for herself using the business’ credit card. She also wrote checks to herself drawn from the company’s pension fund.

Mr. Melucci said she used the money to make personal purchases from StubHub, Ticketmaster, Giant Eagle, Kohl’s and other businesses. Unlike many large-scale embezzlers, she apparently did not use the money for any big-ticket purchases such as cars or real estate.

Asked by the judge whether she agreed with the prosecutor’s recitation of her crimes, Ms. Lewis said yes.

The estimated loss is $818,000, for which Ms. Lewis will likely be ordered to pay restitution from any future earnings.

The medical practice discovered the missing money last year and contacted the FBI, which handled the case.

Ms. Lewis was charged by complaint on March 14 and indicated three days later that she would plead.

She remains free on a $10,000 bond pending sentencing.

No one from the medical practice returned messages Friday. Allegheny Health Network, which acquired the business in 2014, had no comment.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

Content retrieved from: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2017/05/12/Pittsburgh-Ear-Nose-Throat-embezzle-Regina-Lewis/stories/201705120200