IL woman makes it to Federal court for large embezzlement from medical office

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.

LOOMNGTON — A Clinton woman accused of stealing more than $400,000 from the medical practice that employed her is in negotiations with federal prosecutors to resolve charges that carry a possible 20-year prison term.

In a court filing delaying her March 7 jury trial in U.S. District Court in Springfield, attorneys for the government and Veronica Luster disclosed that the two sides “have met on several occasions in an effort to resolve the factual disputes regarding the amounts in issue” and recently obtained information.

The lawyers “have discussed a resolution of this matter, but have not finalized a critical term of any agreement,” according to filings by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan David Freres and defense lawyer L. Lee Smith.

A March 17 hearing is set to discuss a change in Luster’s not guilty plea she entered shortly after her arrest on mail and wire fraud charges in 2015 related to the alleged embezzlement of more than $400,000 from Clinton Internal Medicine and Dr. Farrukh Kureishy.

Kureishy, who is now employed at the Family Medicine Clinic at Warner Hospital and Health Services in Clinton, filed a lawsuit in 2014 against his former office manager. The doctor accuses Luster of taking more than $600,000 from the medical practice for personal items, including books, clothing, home improvement items and electronics.

The pending lawsuit seeks repayment of the office funds and Luster’s salary.

Luster was employed at the medical practice from 2005 until her termination in 2014 after the alleged embezzlement was discovered.

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