Upstate Medical University chief of staff resigns after allegedly lying about his past

SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y., has placed Sergio Garcia, its chief of staff, on leave after a report from the Albany Times-Union revealed he had fabricated multiple stories about his past, including a tale of an escaped car bombing in Afghanistan, according to Syracuse.com.

Mr. Garcia claims to have been part of a 2011 convoy in Afghanistan that was bombed, leading to multiple deaths, though the Albany Times-Union report debunked that claim. The newspaper also proved Mr. Garcia's claims of being directly hired to the U.S. State Department by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, his friendship with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and his presence in the White House during the Sept. 11 attacks were all false. Records show Mr. Garcia did not begin working for the U.S. government until 2004.

Mr. Garcia also was charged with embezzlement and falsifying bank records while working for a La Mesa, Calif., bank in 1998,according to the Times-Union. He allegedly took $560 from customer accounts, and the case was dismissed after he completed 100 hours of community service. Mr. Garcia was hired by Upstate Medical University in 2017 to oversee the office of its president, Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD.

"We are aware of the disturbing and troubling allegations made against Upstate Medical University's chief of staff and are reviewing this matter," Upstate Medical University stated, according to Syracuse.com. "The allegations are contradictory to Upstate's shared values of being open and honest. While this matter is under review, Sergio Garcia has been placed on leave. Upstate will conduct its review in a timely and decisive manner."

Upstate Medical University has recently come under scrutiny for allegedly paying its former CEO John McCabe, MD, $665,000 to "disappear."

Update: Mr. Garcia has resigned from his role as chief of staff, according to Syracuse.com

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