Hamden Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud Offenses
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that LAMONT BETHEA, 31, of Hamden, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to fraud offenses.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Bethea took part in two separate criminal schemes. In the first scheme, Bethea was employed as a Patient Care Associate at Yale New Haven Health Systems (YNHHS). In June 2020, Bethea and Lorita Fair, who worked in the YNHHS payroll department, began to embezzle YNHHS payroll funds. Fair made fraudulent entries in the YNHHS payroll system that resulted in Bethea, Fair and another individual receiving direct-deposited payroll payments that they were not entitled to. Bethea and the other individual then kicked back to Fair a portion of the fraudulent payroll payments they received. As a result of this scheme, which lasted until December 2020, YNHHS sustained a loss of more than $116,260. Approximately $106,000 of this amount was paid into Bethea’s bank account.
In the second fraud scheme, beginning in July 2020, Bethea received personal checks that had been stolen from an individual who lived in New Haven. The victim’s signature was forged on the checks, which were made payable to Bethea, and Bethea deposited them into his personal bank account. Using the routing and account numbers on the checks, Bethea also arranged electronic transfers from the victim’s bank account and used these transfers to pay personal expenses for himself, his family members, and friends. The expenses included credit card bills, rent, car insurance payments, student loans, cell phone bills, and other payments. Through this scheme, Bethea and others stole more than $317,000, of which Bethea and his family members and friends received a total of more than $131,000.
On October 21, 2021, Bethea was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with offenses arising from the YNHHS fraud scheme.
Bethea pleaded guilty to one count wire fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of bank fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years. Judge Dooley scheduled sentencing for November 23.
Bethea is released on a $50,000 bond pending sentencing.
On April 27, 2022, Fair, of Rock Hill, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to one count of theft in connection with health care for her role in the YNHHS fraud. She awaits sentencing and is also released on a $50,000 bond.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of YNHHS and Bank of America. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Sheldon.