Another man affiliated with Cleveland Clinic Innovations has been charged in a scheme to defraud the academic medical center out of more than $2.7 million.
Wisam Rizk, the former chief technology officer of Interactive Visual Health Records, was indicted on 29 charges, including one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 27 counts of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, the Department of Justice announced.
Interactive Visual Health Records was formed under Cleveland Clinic Innovations to turn a visual charting method that some Cleveland Clinic doctors use into a marketable product.
Rizk was hired by former Cleveland Clinic Innovations head Gary Fingerhut, who pleaded guilty to his role in the fraud scheme. Rizk, according to the announcement, was involved in incorporating iStarFZE LLC (ISTAR), a shell company that federal prosecutors say was used to defraud the hospital.
Rizk built a website and created email addresses and a mailing address for ISTAR to make it seem like a real company, according to federal prosecutors. Through the company, he allegedly submitted a bid to Cleveland Clinic to help IVHR develop its technologies and did so without disclosing his financial interest in the shell company.
"The defendant was hired to develop advanced medical technology and instead defrauded the Cleveland Clinic out of millions of dollars," U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said in the announcement.
Federal prosecutors said Fingerhut was occasionally paid a "referral" or "commission" to keep quiet about the scheme.
Fingerhut received more than $439,000 in payments from Rizk and his associates, federal authorities said. He was apologetic for his role in the scheme, and said in a statement through his attorney that his actions "hurt my family, my former employer and my community."
Fingerhut is awaiting sentencing on Jan. 30, and he could face prison time.
The fraud investigation, which is headed by the FBI, remains ongoing, according to the Justice Department.