TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Former West Penn Allegheny manager charged with stealing $700k

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Allegheny County District Attorney's Office
Ira L. Johnson, 52, of Penn Hills is facing 10 charges, including theft, unlawful use of a computer, receiving stolen property and misapplication of entrusted property. The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, charged the former West Penn Allegheny Health System manager with stealing more than $700,000. Allegheny County District Attorney's Office

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 2:18 p.m.
 

A former financial services manager for West Penn Allegheny Health System siphoned more than $700,000 from the struggling medical center to gamble at casinos in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Atlantic City, the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office said on Monday.

Ira L. Johnson, 52, of Penn Hills is facing 10 charges, including theft, unlawful use of a computer, receiving stolen property and misapplication of entrusted property. The former manager of patient financial services and manager of revenue/cash receipts has a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 5. Johnson couldn't be reached for comment. His wife declined comment.

Authorities said Johnson funneled checks made out to Allegheny Medical Practice Network and West Penn Physician Practice Network into a PNC Bank business checking account that he opened on July 26, 2007.

Detectives said Johnson withdrew money — sometimes more than $10,000 each time — at Rivers Casino on the North Shore, Meadows Racetrack and Casino in North Strabane, Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort in Newell, W. Va., Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack, Bally's Atlantic City and Grand Victoria Casino outside Chicago. Bank statements showed no evidence that he used any of the money for West Penn Allegheny business, detectives said.

Dan Laurent, a spokesman for the health system, said Johnson was employed from 2006 until he was fired on Nov. 8, 2011, a day after he deposited two checks totaling $350 into his account.

West Penn Allegheny executives met with detectives from the district attorney's office on Jan. 4, when an employee noticed suspicious activity. The company eventually conducted an internal audit, which uncovered the missing money.

“Since we discovered his actions, we have thoroughly scrutinized and enhanced our internal control processes to deter any individual, regardless of work responsibility or intent, from perpetrating this type of crime again,” Laurent said. “WPAHS is grateful to the Pittsburgh police, Allegheny County and the District Attorney — all of whom responded immediately and are helping to ensure that justice is served in this case.”

Laurent said West Penn Allegheny has insurance to protect itself from such theft and plans to file for reimbursement.

Stephen Foreman, associate professor of health care administration at Robert Morris University, said the health system should have noticed the money was missing earlier.

“It makes you wonder because if he was intercepting checks, there should have been other systems in place that would have caught that,” Foreman said. “They need to explain how their systems allowed this to happen.”

The health system reported a $112.5 million operating loss in its most recent financial year, more than double the loss of the previous year.

“They may not have paid as much attention to internal issues,” Foreman said.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Sutter: Staal effect felt on 3rd line
  2. In Western Pennsylvania, cookie tables aren’t just for weddings
  3. Summer’s favorite caffeine kick in Pittsburgh comes from cold-brew coffee
  4. Kennywood’s 4-D Theater adds senses of touch, smell to moviegoing experience
  5. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  6. Pirates notebook: Prospect Tucker unaware of ‘trade’ frenzy
  7. 5 face trial in beating of black man in Pittsburgh
  8. Kiski Area to host Alle-Kiski Valley 7-on-7 Passing Competition and Big Man Challenge
  9. Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell gets suspension, fine reduced
  10. Pollard, spy for Israel, to be set free
  11. A refusenik’s answer to Iran