TMCNet:  Ex-Allegheny Health Network employee incarcerated for theft [The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

[October 23, 2013]

Ex-Allegheny Health Network employee incarcerated for theft [The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 23--A former financial services worker for Allegheny Health Network who stole $713,000 and squandered it in casinos had a gambling addiction, he told an Allegheny County judge on Wednesday.


"Working at Two Gateway Center, I could leave my desk and be at the blackjack table in five minutes," said Ira L. Johnson, 53, of Penn Hills. "It got to a point where it wasn't about winning or losing; it was about being in that atmosphere." Common Pleas Judge Philip A. Ignelzi sentenced Johnson to one to two years in alternative housing and five years of probation and ordered him to repay the money. He will report to begin his sentence on Dec. 2.

Johnson, who worked as a manager of patient financial services for Allegheny Health Network, pleaded guilty in July to 12 charges in connection with two theft cases involving his former employer. He has worked as a salesman at a car dealership in Monroeville since July.

Johnson's attorney, Milton Raiford, said his client's addiction is "just as serious as any other." Johnson told the judge that he is "very remorseful." Prosecutors said Johnson funneled checks made out to Allegheny Medical Practice Network and West Penn Physician Practice Network into a PNC Bank business checking account that he opened on July 26, 2007.

Detectives said Johnson withdrew money -- sometimes more than $10,000 at a time -- at several casinos, including Rivers Casino, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in North Strabane, Presque Isle Downs in Erie and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Newell, W.Va., according to the criminal complaint.

Johnson joined Allegheny Health Network in 2006 and was fired on Nov. 8, 2011.

Allegheny Health Network executives met with detectives from the district attorney's office on Jan. 4, when an employee noticed suspicious activity. The company eventually conducted an internal audit, which uncovered the missing money.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

___ (c)2013 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.) Visit The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.) at www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib Distributed by MCT Information Services

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