Bribery charges filed in alleged medical residency scam

A man who allegedly tried to bribe a New York hospital employee into admitting hopeful doctors to her hospital's residency program pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges in a Manhattan courtroom earlier this week, including bribery and giving unlawful gratuities. 

Alexander Everest, whose company, Elite American Health Systems, claims it can help connect residency candidates with hospitals, allegedly paid thousands of dollars to the employee, who dealt with residency records at Harlem Hospital. According to the Wall Street Journal, Everest gave the employee checks for $4,000, $2,000, $6,000 and $3,000-some of which were referred to as "thank yous" or "Easter love gifts." 

Everest also allegedly gave the employee forged letters from a hospital in California to try to show that the applicants he was representing had been accepted into a second-year specialty program. 

Prosecuting attorneys said that hopeful residents using Everest's services agreed to pay Everest $100,000 each to secure residency slots.

"The defendant not only tried to bribe a State health official, he also disrupted the mechanisms in place for training new doctors," District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement. "I would like to acknowledge the upstanding Harlem Hospital employee for quickly recognizing this wrong-doing, and for reporting it to the proper authorities."

George Vomvolakis, Everest's attorney, referred to his client's alleged bribery attempts as "a misunderstanding," instead calling Everest simply a "very generous guy." 

If convicted on the bribery charge alone, Everest could face as many as seven years in prison. According to Elite American's website, Everest earned a PhD from the University of New Hampshire after "complet[ing] his high school studies graduating with valedictorian honors in the 12th grade."

To learn more:
- read the Wall Street Journal article
- here's a press release from the district attorney's office
- check out the website for Elite American Health Systems