Three Memorial Hospital Vendors Convicted in Bribery Scheme
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), announce that, after a 6-day trial before United States District Judge Kenneth A. Marra, a jury convicted defendants Thomas Kennedy, 44, of Davie, Robert Andrei, 70, of Davie, and Thomas Pacchioli, 52, of Weston, of all charges against them. Additionally, defendant Richard Cohen, 45, of Wellington, pled guilty during the second week of trial.
The jury found the defendants guilty of participating in a bribery and kickback scheme in connection with the award of facilities maintenance contracts at Memorial Regional Hospital (MRH), in Hollywood, FL, and Memorial Hospital West (MHW), in Pembroke Pines, FL. Both hospitals are part of the Memorial Healthcare System, an organization that receives more than $10,000 in federal assistance each calendar year.
According to evidence presented at trial, the defendants and companies they controlled were vendors for the Maintenance Departments at MRH and MHW. The defendants and their companies paid kickbacks -- in the form of cash payments, checks written to nominee corporations, and home generators -- to hospital employees Elliott Gordon, Anthony Merola, and Adil Osman. In return for the kickbacks from the defendant vendors, Gordon, Merola, and Osman provided the defendants and their companies with millions of dollars of construction, repairs, and maintenance work at MRH and MHW. Gordon and Merola previously pled guilty to an Information charging them with conspiring to accept bribes. Osman previously pled guilty to a substantive charge of accepting bribes. Gordon and Merola were sentenced to 38 and 33 months in prison, respectively. Osman is pending sentencing.
Additionally, defendants Kennedy and Cohen participated in a scheme to defraud MRH and MHW by rigging the bidding process on numerous vendor contracts worth over $10,000. Both defendants used the names of real corporations without consent and shell corporations they established in the names of other people to bid against themselves and guarantee their acquisition of lucrative maintenance contracts.
All the defendants were found guilty of a conspiracy to provide kickback payments to MRH and MHW employees in connection with the award of facilities maintenance contracts at MRH and MHW, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. The defendants also were convicted of substantive violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(2), for paying bribes to specific hospital administrators in exchange for the award of vendor contracts. Finally, Cohen pled guilty to, and the jury convicted Kennedy of, mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, for their involvement in the fraudulent bid rigging scheme.
Sentencing for Cohen, Kennedy, and Pacchiloi has been scheduled for May 18, 2012. Sentencing for Andrei has been scheduled for May 25, 2012. At sentencing, the defendants each face a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison for violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; 20 years for violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341; and 10 years for violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(2).
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the management and security personnel at Memorial Healthcare System for their assistance and cooperation in this investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil Karadbil and Strider Dickson.
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.