Former executive of Cleveland Clinic spinoff defrauded system of $2.7M

The former chief technology officer of Interactive Visual Health Records, a company formed by Cleveland Clinic Innovations, was sentenced to nearly five years in prison Oct. 30 for his role in a conspiracy to defraud Cleveland Clinic of more than $2.7 million, according to the Department of Justice.

Wisam Rizk's sentencing came after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, honest services fraud and related charges. In addition to his prison term, Mr. Rizk was ordered to pay $2.7 million in restitution.

Gary Fingerhut, former executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, hired Mr. Rizk to serve as a consultant and then chief technology officer of Interactive Visual Health Records, which was created to develop a visual medical charting concept into a marketable product.

Mr. Fingerhut and Mr. Rizk were prohibited from receiving financial benefit or having financial interests in the companies Cleveland Clinic did business with, unless expressly approved by the Clinic.

Mr. Rizk worked with others to incorporate a shell company, known as iStarFZE, and used the shell company to submit a bid to Cleveland Clinic to design and develop IVHR's software. He did not disclose his financial interest in iStarFZE to Cleveland Clinic, and he rewarded Mr. Fingerhut financially for not disclosing the fraud scheme. Between August 2012 and November 2014, Mr. Fingerhut accepted nearly $469,000 in payments from Mr. Rizk.

Mr. Fingerhut pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy in 2017. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison in December 2018.

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