Former MetroHealth COO indicted in $250K racketeering scheme, according to indictment

Former MetroHealth COO indicted in $250K racketeering scheme, according to indictment

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A former Chief Operating Officer at MetroHealth Medical Center and three other men have been indicted on several charges, including racketeering related to the hospital's dental program.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the former COO, Dr. Edward Hills and three other men have been indicted on racketeering charges for taking bribes and kickbacks.

According to the indictment, Hills, 56, accepted bribes and kickbacks totaling more than $250,000. It includes cash, checks, a television and a Louis Vuitton briefcase worth $4,000.

Also named in the indictment: Sari Alqsous, 32, of Cleveland; Yazan B. Al-Madani, 32, of Westlake; and Tariq Sayegh, 38, of Cleveland. Alqsous, Al-Madani and Sayegh who worked as dentists for MetroHealth.

Hills was appointed as Chief Operating Officer in March 2011 after serving as Interim COO since April 2010. He has more than 20 years of healthcare experience, most of which has been as a physician and administrative leader.

In 2015, the home and offices of Hills were searched.

"I hoped we had reached a point in Cuyahoga County where public employees taking cash bribes and using downtown apartments to entertain friends was a thing of the past," U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon said. "We will remain vigilant in stamping out public corruption and these defendants will be held accountable for their crimes."

MetroHealth discovered possible wrongdoing and contacted authorities.

According to the indictment unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court:

Hills, Alqsous and Al-Madani engaged in a RICO conspiracy from 2008 through 2016 involving a series of elaborate bribery conspiracies, witness tampering and other crimes.

These bribes include Hills soliciting cash, checks, a $3,879 Louis Vuitton briefcase, a 55-inch television, airline flights and use of a downtown apartment from Alqsous, Al-Madani and others. In return, Hills took official actions on their behalf, including allowing them to work at their private dental businesses during regular business hours while receiving a full-time salary from MetroHealth.

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