Former Sacred Heart executive gets 1-year prison term

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Anthony Puorro, former COO of now-shuttered Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago, was sentenced Wednesday to one year in prison, according to the Chicago Tribune.

In April 2013, federal authorities arrested Sacred Heart's owner and CEO Edward Novak, its former CFO, Roy Payawal, and four physicians for their alleged participation in a kickback scheme. After the arrests, CMS suspended reimbursements to Sacred Heart, and the hospital closed in July 2013.

In October 2013, Anthony Puorro, who was COO of Sacred Heart for two years, and Noemi Velgara, the hospital's former vice president of geriatric services, were indicted in the case. However, they both cooperated with the federal investigation, including wearing recorders to tape conversations. In December 2014, Mr. Puorro and Ms. Velgara entered into a plea deal with prosecutors, which involved each of them pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and receive kickbacks.

In addition to his prison term, Mr. Puorro was fined $25,000. He was the eighth defendant sentenced so far in connection with the kickback scheme, according to the report.

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