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Press Release

Westlake man sentenced to nearly five years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to defraud the Cleveland Clinic out of $2.7 million

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

A Westlake man was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to defraud the Cleveland Clinic out more than $2.7 million.

Wisam Rizk was sentenced to 58 months in prison and ordered to pay $2.7 million in restitution. Rizk previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services fraud and related charges. Rizk will be deported upon completion of his sentence

Rizk worked as Chief Technology Officer at Interactive Visual Health Records, a company formed by Cleveland Clinic Innovations to develop a visual medical charting concept of certain Clinic physicians into a functioning, marketable product, according to the indictment.

Rizk was hired at IVHR by Gary Fingerhut, the former executive director at Cleveland Clinic Innovations. Fingerhut previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

Rizk and Fingerhut, as a condition of their employment, were prohibited from receiving any financial benefit or having any personal or familial financial interests in companies the Clinic did business with, unless they were expressly disclosed to, and approved by, the Clinic.

Rizk and others caused to be incorporated a shell company known as iStarFZE LLC (ISTAR) that did not actually perform or provide any goods or services. It was established in the name of a nominee owner. Rizk caused ISTAR to establish a web site and email addresses and a mailing address in New York City to create the false impression it was an operational business, according to the indictment.

Rizk caused ISTAR to submit a bid to the Clinic to develop and design IVHR’s software and to increase the price the Clinic paid for the software design and development, all without disclosing his financial interest in ISTAR, according to the indictment.

Rizk periodically paid Fingerhut a “referral” or “commission” fee in return for Fingerhut not disclosing the fraud scheme, according to the indictment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Lutzko following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Mike Tobin

Updated October 30, 2019

Financial Fraud