Payroll employee charged with stealing $550K from NY hospitals

A man who worked in the payroll departments of two New York City hospitals allegedly stole more than $550,000 from the hospitals over a three-year period, according to a press release from New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Wendell Lewis faces felony charges for allegedly directing funds from NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and Interfaith Medical Center to his personal bank accounts. He's charged with 10 felony counts, including grand larceny, money laundering and identity theft. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

While working in the payroll department of the two hospitals, Mr. Lewis had the ability to redirect the direct deposits of salaried employees. According to prosecutors, Mr. Lewis added former employees back on to the payroll and directed their previous salaries to bank accounts he controlled. To hide the scheme, he allegedly used the usernames of other employees in the payroll department to log in to the hospital's computer system.

Mr. Lewis allegedly used 14 fraudulent bank accounts to steal more than $550,000 from the two hospitals between 2015 and 2018.

This isn't the first time Mr. Lewis has been accused of stealing from a hospital. In 2012, he was convicted of grand larceny in the third degree for engaging in a similar scheme when he worked in the payroll department of Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in New York City.

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