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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Feds Uncover Racketeering Scheme at MetroHealth Led by Former Executive

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 1:35 PM

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Former MetroHealth executive Edward Hills was arrested today after landing a laundry list of racketeering and conspiracy charges in a recent indictment.

Hills and three other dentists were involved in a plan that diverted "hundreds of thousands of dollars" from the hospital, according to federal investigators. (Hills was formerly the president of the Ohio State Dental Board, as well.)

The whole scheme reads like a page out of Jimmy Dimora's playbook.

Hills
  • Hills
In short, the indictment outlines how Hills would demand all sorts of things from dental employees — cash, checks, airfare, hotel reservations, TVs, etc. — in return for "favorable official actions," including pay raises and bonuses. The indictment reveals a number of texts showing how Hills' lackeys were working hard to deliver cash to his personal bank account.

Further, Hills and two other dentists — Sari Alqsous and Yazan Al-Madani, also in custody now — used their time on the job at Metro, a public institution, to work on Hills' private practice, Oral Health Enrichment. Alqsous and Al-Madani also had their own private practice, and Hills would often direct Metro patients there. (Their practice is called Buckeye Family Dental.) This scheme sits at the center of the indictment, with untold amounts of money being diverted away from Metro.

In his leadership role, Hills allowed those dentists to work part-time hours while receiving full-time pay (and tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses) and while operating their own private practices.

A number of examples of Hills' influence can be found in the indictment. 

At one point, Alqsous was moving out of his downtown apartment; Hills demanded that he continue to pay rent and utilities while Hills moved a woman identified as "Designee 1" into the unit. Hills also demanded that Alqsous and Al-Madani and another person pool funds to buy an Apple computer for "Designee 1."

Those activities and rest of the schemes contained in the indictment took place between 2008 and 2016.

In one particularly bizarre and revealing example, Hills demanded a Louis Vuitton briefcase for his first day of work as the interim CEO and President of Metro. (His predecessor had carried a similar one.) Once again, Alqsous and Al-Madani bent over backwards to find the briefcase. The relevant text messages read:

Alqsous: got the guys together to deliver your gift to start ur new job...

Alqsous: This is the one? [Accompanied by a picture of a Louis Vuitton briefcase]

Hills: Yes

Alqsous: The guys are also very excited about their raise haha

Hills: Thanks I'm so excited to have my bag to start my new job as #1

Alqsous: You are welcome, it is an honor

Hills: Thanks it is like having 3 sons

The briefcase cost $3,879.

We'll keep an eye on this case as it moves through the court.

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