Former Executive Indicted for Defrauding Health Care Company of Nearly $3 Million
|Jan. 21, 2014|
HOUSTON – Joseph S. Antonucci, 41, of Houston, has been charged with defrauding his former employer, Patriot Managed Health Care Systems Inc., and causing a loss of more than $2.9 million, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Antonucci was charged in a sealed indictment, returned Jan. 14, 2014, and unsealed today upon his arrest. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy this morning and was ordered into custody pending a detention hearing set for tomorrow afternoon.
The indictment alleges Antonucci was employed by Patriot as executive vice president and treasurer at the company’s Houston headquarters. In this position, Antonucci ran the daily operations of the company, including soliciting and retaining clients, supervising other employees and controlling the company’s bank accounts, according to the indictment.
From at least January 2007 through September 2012, Antonucci allegedly defrauded Patriot by embezzling approximately $2.9 million from the company’s bank accounts. The indictment alleges Antonucci made unauthorized withdrawals and transfers from Patriot’s bank accounts using a corporate debit card and wrote checks from these accounts to himself. Antonucci further caused Patriot’s account to transfer money by wire into both his own accounts and the accounts of third parties who provided services to Antonucci personally, according to the allegations.
Antonucci allegedly executed the scheme by creating false financial documents. The indictment alleges these documents misrepresented key accounting figures for the company and overstated the company’s net worth while concealing Antonucci’s embezzlement. Antonucci allegedly sent these false documents via email to the managing partner of the investment fund that owned Patriot. Antonucci also used emails to request additional capital investment from the managing partner, falsely claiming the funds were needed for legitimate business operations and concealing that the company actually needed money because of his own embezzlement.
The indictment charges Antonucci with 15 counts of wire fraud based on these emails and personal expenses paid by Antonucci (with Patriot’s money) for his American Express bill, gambling at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas and private jet travel. The indictment also charges Antonucci with five counts of engaging in a monetary transaction with the proceeds of specified unlawful activity based on his use of Patriot funds to pay for additional personal expenses, including repayment of an Internal Revenue Service lien and a down payment on his home. The indictment also alleges one count of making false a statement, based on alleged false statements Antonucci made when FBI agents interviewed him in February 2013.
A conviction for wire fraud carries as possible punishment a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count and a $250,000 maximum fine or twice the pecuniary gain or loss. Engaging in monetary transactions with the proceeds of specified unlawful activity carries as possible punishment a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 maximum fine or twice the pecuniary gain or loss. If convicted of making a false statement, Antonucci also faces up to five years in federal prison and another $250,000 maximum fine.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pearson.