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Former worker charged with stealing $700K from healthcare nonprofit

| Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 5:24 p.m.

A former financial services manager for Allegheny Health Network spent most of the $713,000 he stole from the nonprofit at casinos to satisfy a gambling addiction, his attorney said Tuesday.

Ira L. Johnson, 52, of Penn Hills pleaded guilty to 12 charges stemming from two theft cases at Allegheny Health Network. He worked as a manager of patient financial services. Common Pleas Judge Phil Ignelzi is scheduled to sentence Johnson on Oct. 23.

“He had a gambling problem, and he's getting treatment for that,” said his attorney, Milton Raiford. “I think he's an ill person just as bad as any drug addiction. This is not the kind of guy you want to send to prison or jail. He's trying to work to pay it back.”

Prosecutors 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 at a time — at several casinos, including Rivers Casino on the North Shore, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in North Strabane, Presque Isle Downs in Erie and Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort in Newell, W.Va., according to the criminal complaint.

Johnson joined Allegheny Health Network in 2006 and was fired on Nov. 8, 2011. Allegheny Health Network 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 missing money.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

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