Former Executive Convicted of Defrauding Health Care Company
HOUSTON—Joseph S. Antonucci, 41, has been convicted of defrauding his former employer, Patriot Managed Health Care Systems Inc., and causing a significant monetary loss, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The Houston resident entered his plea today to all 21 counts as charged.
Antonucci was employed by Patriot as executive vice president and treasurer at the company’s Houston headquarters. In this position, Antonucci ran the daily operations of the company, including soliciting and retaining clients, supervising other employees and controlling the company’s bank accounts.
The indictment indicated that from at least January 2007 through September 2012, Antonucci defrauded Patriot by embezzling approximately $2.9 million from the company’s bank accounts. Antonucci has admitted he made unauthorized withdrawals and transfers from Patriot’s bank accounts using a corporate debit card and wrote checks from these accounts to himself. Antonucci further caused Patriot’s account to transfer money by wire into both his own accounts and the accounts of third parties who provided services to Antonucci personally.
According to the charges, Antonucci executed the scheme by creating false financial documents which misrepresented key accounting figures for the company and overstated the company’s net worth while concealing Antonucci’s embezzlement. The indictment also alleged he sent these false documents via e-mail to the managing partner of the investment fund that owned Patriot.
As part of his plea, Antonucci admitted he used e-mails to request additional capital investment from the managing partner, falsely claiming the funds were needed for legitimate business operations and concealing that the company actually needed money because of his own embezzlement.
Antonucci pleaded guilty to 15 counts of wire fraud based on these e-mails and personal expenses he paid (with Patriot’s money) for his American Express bill, gambling at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas and private jet travel. He further admitted to five counts of engaging in a monetary transactions with the proceeds of specified unlawful activity based on his use of Patriot funds to pay for additional personal expenses, including repayment of an Internal Revenue Service lien and a down payment on his home. He also admitted to making false a statement to FBI agents when they interviewed him in February 2013.
Sentencing has been set for Jan. 29, 2015, at which time he faces up to 20 years for each count of wire fraud, and up to 10 years for each of the five counts of illegally engaging in a monetary transactions. The conviction for making a false statement carries another possible five-year-term. All convicted also carry as possible punishment a possible $250,000 fine. He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pearson.