8 charged with conspiracy to steal hundreds of thousands from MetroHealth System in elaborate scheme

At least eight people have been charged with a conspiracy to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars from Cleveland-based MetroHealth System in an intricate scheme that included the creation of dozens of fraudulent corporations pretending to be hospital vendors, according to a report from Cleveland.com.

An indictment from the CuyahogaCounty grand jury says a group of people formed an "illicit enterprise" to steal money the hospital system intended to pay its vendors. The indictment says the total amount stolen is "greater than $750,000 but less than $1 million," according to the report.

Led by a mail courier who served as a contracted agent for the group, prosecutors say the theft ring would steal and attempt to cash checks made out to individuals or corporate vendors. The conspirators — some of whom lived in other states — created corporations with the same names as the vendors MetroHealth contracts with, then cashed the stolen hospital checks in bank accounts opened by the phony corporations, according to the report.

The theft ring impersonated Frensius Management Services, Truven Health Analytics, Executive Happiness Coach Jim Smith, JP Recovery Services and janitorial company Janitorial Services.

The defendants named in the indictment include Temple English, 42, of Cleveland; Alicia Turner, 60, of Alabama; Areka Bailey, 34, of Alabama; Brian Bartlett Brooks, 42, of Cincinnati; Anthony P. Wilburn, 42, of Cleveland; Ruben Horton Barkley Jr., 57, of Oakwood; Vince Jones, 45, of Cincinnati; and Willie Boyce, 34, of Cincinnati. The indictment also mentions "others not named," though none of the defendants are MetroHealth employees, according to the report.  

They are scheduled to be arraigned April 11.

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