CLEVELAND — A former MetroHealth Hospital official was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to defraud the hospital and others through a series of bribes.
Edward Hills, 58, was sentenced to 188 months in prison, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio.
A jury previously found Hills, Sari Alqsous, 34, Yazan B. Al-Madani, 34, and Tariq Sayegh, 38, guilty of criminal charges following a trial last year.
“Dr. Hills violated the trust of taxpayers and the leadership of a hospital dedicated to serving the least among us,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “Dr. Hills earned this prison sentence by putting his greed above all else, soliciting and taking cash, rent payments, plane tickets, an expensive briefcase and other items as bribes.”
"Mr. Hills will now serve his deserved sentence for defrauding our healthcare system,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith said. "The investigation and subsequent prosecution of Hills and his associates revealed these individuals had engaged in a pervasive pattern of fraud, betraying the MetroHealth Hospital System, its employees, and our community. The collective efforts of law enforcement and MetroHealth officials led to the disruption of this destructive illegal deceit. "
Hills worked in various capacities with MetroHealth, including as Chief Operating Officer and Director of MetroHealth Dental.
According to court documents, testimony and documents presented at trial, Hills, Alqsous and Al-Madani engaged in a racketeering conspiracy from 2008 through 2016 involving a series of elaborate bribery conspiracies, witness tampering and other crimes.
These bribes include Hills soliciting cash, checks, a $3,879 Louis Vuitton briefcase, a 55-inch television, airline flights and use of a downtown apartment from Alqsous, Al-Madani and others, the release states. In return, Hills took official actions on their behalf, including allowing them to work at their private dental businesses during regular business hours while receiving a full-time salary from MetroHealth.
Alqsous, Al-Madani, and Sayegh are scheduled to be sentenced later this month.