Former West Penn Allegheny manager charged with stealing $713,000

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A former manager with West Penn Allegheny Health System pleaded guilty today to charges connected to the theft of more than $713,000 that authorities say he used to gamble.

Ira Johnson, 52, of Penn Hills was charged with 10 counts, including theft, receiving stolen property, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, unlawful use of a computer, dealing in proceeds of illegal activity; and misapplication of government funds.

Mr. Johnson started working for the health system in 2006 until he was fired on Nov. 8, 2011, investigators said. He served as the manager of patient financial services and also at one point as the manager of revenue/cash receipts. According to an affidavit of probable cause, in his position, Mr. Johnson had access to receipts that were supposed to be deposited into WPAHS accounts.

Investigators say that Mr. Johnson directed funds from the health system into a checking account in his name, doing business as "Allegheny Medical Practice Network," opened in July 2007.

"A review of the withdrawals from the AMPN business checking account showed no evidence of expenses made related to the medical field," the affidavit said, and instead showed withdrawals at a number of casinos, including Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County and Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie.

An internal audit showed the suspicious activity, investigators said.

In one example, the affidavit said that Mr. Johnson made 110 ATM withdrawals from May to November 2011 at or near casinos, totaling $83,329.

His sentencing is scheduled for October 23.

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Paula Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620. First Published February 25, 2013 2:00 PM


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