Jury Convicts Hills and Three Other Dentists in Kickback and Bribery Schemes

Michael W. Davis, DDS
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Edward Hills, DDS, former chief operating officer of Cleveland’s MetroHealth and past president of the Ohio State Dental Board, was criminally convicted by jury trial along with three other conspiring dentists on July 27, 2018.

The guilty verdicts as announced by the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio included Hills, Sari Alqsous, DDS, Yazan B. Al-Madani, DDS, and Tariq Sayegh, DDS. The four dentists conspired to defraud the hospital through a series of bribes and kickback schemes.1-3

“A jury decided to hold Mr. Hills and his associates accountable for their roles in defrauding our healthcare system,” said FBI special agent in charge Stephen D. Anthony. “The investigation revealed these individuals engaged in a pervasive pattern of fraud, betraying the MetroHealth Hospital System, its employees, and our community.”

“Edward Hills was placed in the utmost position of trust by MetroHealth, but he chose to abuse that position of trust for his own personal greed and ego,” said Ryan L. Korner, special agent in charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. 

“These defendants had the opportunity to come clean and tell the truth. Instead, they chose to obstruct the investigation by telling witnesses to not to cooperate with law enforcement. Now they are convicted felons facing a lengthy prison sentences for their crimes,” Korner said. 

The government proved that Hills, Alqsous, and Al-Madani engaged in various racketeering schemes from 2008 to 2016 involving a series of elaborate bribery conspiracies, witness tampering, and other crimes. Hills received bribes from Alqsous and Al-Madani in the form of cash, checks, and gifts. 

In return, these two directors of the dental residency program extorted money from residents to obtain their educational positions at MetroHealth. They were positioned with full-time teaching positions by Hills, but only worked part-time.

Plus, Hills awarded Alqsous and Al-Madani bonuses at the hospital’s expense. In the meantime, these doctors worked in their private practices, used hospital resources to refer patients to their private offices, and used the unpaid labor of residents in their private practices.

Alqsous and Sayegh focused on recruiting Jordanian dentists, telling them they would have to pay a “donation” to be considered for a residency position. This “donation” was not paid to MetroHealth, but directly to Alqsous and Sayegh. Some candidates were advised a portion of the consideration fee would be paid directly to Hills.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 27, 2018. Each of the convicted dentists is facing potentially 20 years of incarceration.

Referernces

  1. US Attorney’s Office Northern District of Ohio. Jury convicts former MetroHealth Chief Operating Officer and three others in kickback and bribery scheme. Jul 30, 2018. https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndoh/pr/jury-convicts-former-metrohealth-chief-operating-officer-and-three-others-kickback-and
  2. Heisig E. Jury convicts former MetroHealth executive, dentists in racketeering trial. Cleveland.com Jul 27, 2018. https://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2018/07/cuyahoga_county_judge_orders_c_1.html
  3. Davis MW. Significance of Criminal Indictment to Dr. Edward R. Hills. Mar 5, 2017; Dentist the Menace online dental blog: http://blog.dentistthemenace.com/2017/03/significance-of-criminal-indictment-to.html

Dr. Davis practices general dentistry in Santa Fe, NM. He assists as an expert witness in dental fraud and malpractice legal cases. He currently chairs the Santa Fe District Dental Society Peer-Review Committee and serves as a state dental association member to its house of delegates. He extensively writes and lectures on related matters. He may be reached at mwdavisdds@comcast.net or smilesofsantafe.com.

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