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Ex-hospital worker guilty in $1m theft

By Robert Weisman
Globe Staff / March 4, 2010

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A former employee of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to embezzling more than $1 million by misappropriating checks made out to the hospital and obtaining fraudulent returns on hearing aids and other items.

Richard P. Webb, 42, of Boston, who worked in the ear, nose, and throat department at the Harvard-affiliated Boston teaching hospital, submitted a guilty plea before US District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro to one count of health care theft and embezzlement.

At the plea hearing, prosecutors told the court they had evidence Webb stole $1,054,712 between January 2006 and April 2009 by forging signatures and depositing in his own bank accounts checks made out to Beth Israel Deaconess while obtaining unwarranted returns on medical supplies. Webb and prosecutors filed an agreement recommending a sentence of 42 months in prison, restitution and forfeiture of more than $1 million, and a condition that Webb not handle money for other people or companies during his supervised release.

Tauro will decide whether to accept the recommendation at a sentencing hearing scheduled for June 9. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Boston police and prosecuted by assistant US attorneys Scott L. Garland and Veronica Lei.