News and Press Releases

FORMER MEMORIAL REGIONAL HOSPITAL FACILITIES EMPLOYEES CHARGED WITH ACCEPTING BRIBES AND OBSTRUCTING THE IRS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2010

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, and Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, announce the filing of a criminal information against Elliot Gordon, 67, and Anthony Merola, 45, both residents of Lake Worth, Florida. Both defendants were Team Leaders in the Facilities Management Department at Memorial Regional Hospital (Memorial Regional) in Hollywood, Florida. The defendants are charged with conspiring to obtain a bribe as an agent of an organization receiving federal funds and obstructing the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

According to the criminal information, Gordon was a Team Leader in the Facilities Management Department at Memorial Regional from February 1995 until September 2007. Merola was a Team Leader in the same department from September 1997 until February 25, 2009. As Team Leaders, the defendants were responsible for, among other things, contracting with vendors for the purchase of goods and services for Memorial Regional.

The criminal information alleges that Gordon and Merola accepted money and in-kind kickbacks in exchange for selecting certain vendors to perform maintenance work at Memorial Regional. According to the allegations, the defendants would cause the selected vendors to substantially inflate their invoices to Memorial Regional to facilitate the payment of kickbacks to themselves. In addition, the defendants, with the assistance of their accountant, would conceal the kickback payments through entities such as Whitehead Industries, RSM&F Enterprises, Inc. and Dorece Consulting, and would improperly deduct personal expenses as business deductions on tax returns filed with the IRS.

If convicted, the defendants face a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of up to 5 years.

Defendant Merola surrendered today and made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Hopkins in West Palm Beach. Defendant Gordon is expected to make his initial appearance later this month before U.S. Magistrate Judge Linnea Johnson in West Palm Beach.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the management and security personnel at Memorial Healthcare System for their assistance and cooperation in this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Karadbil.

An information is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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