West Virginia physician, former COO charged with $650K fraud

Francisco Ortiz, former COO of Morgantown, W.Va.-based Wedgewood Physicians, and James Mersing, MD, have been charged for allegedly stealing $650,000 from the practice, the Justice Department reported March 14. 

Mr. Ortiz stands accused of using his position as chief operating officer to divert funds, which were used for his and Dr. Mersing's personal benefit over a three-year period, according to the indictment. Dr. Mersing was an employee of the practice during this time. 

The diverted funds were allegedly used for Mr. Ortiz's personal travel, home improvements and items from Amazon. He allegedly gave Dr. Mersing money through unauthorized bonuses, part of which was returned to Mr. Ortiz as a kickback. 

Mr. Ortiz is facing 31 counts of bank fraud, while Dr. Mersing is facing 11 counts. Each count carries a maximum of 30 years in prison.

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