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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sheffield Lake Man Charged With Conspiracy To Commit Mail Fraud

A Sheffield Lake man was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud for his role in defrauding the Cleveland Clinic out of more than $150,000, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office.

Randy Breininger, 43, was the Institute Administrator within the Anesthesiology Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. Richard Zukowski owned and operated an independent recruiting firm called the David Anthony Group, Inc. or DAG. The company maintained a contract with the Cleveland Clinic from 2008 through January 2013 to help locate and recruit certified registered nurse anesthetists to work within the Clinic’s Anesthesiology Institute, according to the criminal information.

The Cleveland Clinic paid DAG commissions, equal to a percentage of the first year annual salary, for each successful certified registered nurse anesthetist recruited by DAG, according to the information.

Breininger submitted invoices related to the commissions for people purportedly recruited by DAG. An individual identified as J.T. was the Institute Finance Director for the Anesthesiology Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. J.T. approved invoices related to commissions for individuals purportedly recruited by DAG, according to the information.

Breininger and Zukowski conspired from about June 15, 2010 through around January 2013, according to the information.

Breininger provided names, dates of invoice and DAG commission figures to Zukowski for 10 individuals. Breininger instructed Zukowski to submit a recruiting invoice through DAG for each individual whose name Breininger provided. At no point did Zukowski or DAG recruit the 10 individuals for employment at the Cleveland Clinic, according to the information.

Breininger requested J.T. authorize the 10 invoices submitted by Zukowski. J.T. authorized the payments and routed the approved invoices for payment at the Cleveland Clinic. The Cleveland Clinic mailed Zukowski eight checks which totaled more than $150,00, according to the information.

Breininger then asked Zukowski to return half the money Zukowski received as payment for the invoices. In order to fulfill his tax obligations for the eight checks, Zukowski transferred only about one-third of the proceeds to Breininger. Zukowski withdrew approximately $60,000 in cash, in increments between $1,500 and $2,000, and hand delivered the cash to Breininger in envelopes, according to the information.

Zukowski pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Kleinmann following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 12, 2015