Cleveland Clinic Head Hunter Charged With Fraud In Imaginary CRNA Scheme

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Richard Zukowski, 49, of Parma, Oh. has been charged by federal prosecutors with Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud in what law enforcement officials say was a scheme to collect commissions for certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) he claimed to have recruited for work at the Cleveland Clinic, but who in fact did not exist.

Zukowski owned and operated The David Anthony Group, Inc., an independent recruiting firm. He was paid a percentage of the salary of new recruits as his commission. Federal charging documents state that he and “R.B.”, an unnamed Institute Administrator within the Anesthesiology Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, conspired to defraud the hospital of at least $179,040 between June 15, 2010 and November 28, 2012.

From court documents:

The Conspiracy

7. From on or about June 15, 20 I 0, through in or around January 2013, in the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, and elsewhere, Defendant RICHARD ZUKOWSKI, and R.B. did combine, conspire, confederate and agree together and with each other to violate the laws of the United States, to wit: to commit mail fraud, in violation ofTitle 18, United States Code,Section 1341, that is, they devised a scheme and artifice to defraud the Cleveland Clinic, and to obtain money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, and caused eight checks from the Cleveland Clinic to be placed in any post office and authorized depository for mail matter to be sent and delivered by the United States Postal Service. Objects of the Conspiracy.

8. The objects of the conspiracy were to enrich ZUKOWSKI and R.B., and defraud the Cleveland Clinic through the issuance of fraudulent recruitment checks to the DAG.

Manner and Means

Among the manner and means by which ZUKOWSKI and R.B. carried out the conspiracy were the following:

9. From on or about June 15, 20 l 0, through on or about November 28, 2012, R.B. provided the names, date of the invoice, and DAG commission figures for ten individuals to ZUKOWSKI. R.B. instructed ZUKOWSKI to submit a recruiting invoice, through the DAG, for each ofthe individuals whose names R.B. had provided.
10. None of the individuals whose names had R.B. provided to ZUKOWSKI were CRNAs, instead, R.B. provided names of physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. At least one of the names R.B. provided ZUKOWSKI had been employed by the Cleveland Clinic since July 200 I.
11. At no time did ZUKOWSKI, or the DAG, recruit for employment at the Cleveland Clinic any of the ten individuals whose names R.B. had provided to ZUKOWSKI.
12. ZUKOWSKI prepared ten invoices on behalf of the DAG, which indicated the name, date ofthe invoice, and DAG commission fee to be paid by the Cleveland Clinic for recruiting the individuals whose names R.B. had provided to ZUKOWSKI.

13. From on or about June 15, 20 I 0, through on or about November 28, 2012, ZUKOWSKI submitted to R.B. ten invoices, totaling at least $179,040, on behalf of the DAG for the individuals whose names R.B. had provided.
14. R.B. requested J.T. to authorize the payment ofthe ten invoices submitted by ZUKOWSKI.
15. J.T. authorized the payment of the ten invoices, and routed the approved invoices for payment by the Cleveland Clinic.
16. The Cleveland Clinic mailed to ZUKOWSKI eight checks which totaled $179,040.
17. ZUKOWSKI deposited the eight Cleveland Clinic checks into the DAG’s Huntington National Bank account.
18. R.B. asked ZUKOWSKI to return to R.B. approximately one-halfofthe money ZUKOWSKI received from the Cleveland Clinic in payment for the invoices.
19. In order to cover his tax obligations for the eight checks, ZUKOWSKI transferred only approximately one-third of the proceeds of the Cleveland Clinic checks to R.B.
20. ZUKOWSKI withdrew approximately $60,000 in cash, in increments between approximately $1,500 and $2,000, and hand delivered the cash to R.B. in envelopes.

The charging document reads consistent with a case where a plea deal is in the works. Zukowski is only being charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud when he actually committed a host of felonies including mail fraud, grand larceny, etc. This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Kleinmann following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Read the full court filing below.

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