The ex-health IT director at North County Health Services, a San Diego County-based healthcare service provider, has been charged with spearheading fraudulent operations that cost the organization $800,000.
According to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, “Hector Ramos, 55, was charged with 49 counts related to the loss of the money, which authorities said happened over the course of eight months in 2015.” North County Health Services hired Ramos to run its IT department in January 2015, giving him a salary of $200,000 per year.
North County Health Services offers healthcare services at its local health clinics in San Diego County, specializing in providing services to those who have limited access and limited income.
At a recent court hearing, Ramos pleaded not guilty to the charges, which attest that he created two fraudulent corporations, then submitted false invoices from those corporations to North County Health Services. Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn said that “Ramos would create a sense of urgency by telling staffers in the purchasing department that the entire computer system might shut down if the invoices were not quickly paid. Ramos’ assistant grew suspicious, investigated the two corporations and found that Ramos was on the board. The assistant reported it to organization officials, according to Winn,” per the Union-Tribune article.
What’s more, Winn said that although bank statements revealed that the payments were made to Ramos’ companies, the records did not show purchases of computer equipment or software to match what North County Health Services had been billed. Instead, Winn said, the bank statements showed “lavish spending,” including international vacations and thousands of dollars in purchases from a wine website, according to the report. An additional $44,000 was spent on a Porsche.
At the recent hearing, Ramos’ attorney called the defendant “a very credible individual,” who had “lived a blameless life for 30 years,” per the Union-Tribune report. Nonetheless, Ramos faces 36 years in state prison if he’s convicted of all the charges.
North County Health Services' insurance company has also filed a civil claim against Ramos for the $800,000.