U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announced today that a grand jury sitting in Cleveland has returned a 28-count indictment charging William H. Precht, age 53, of Kent, Ohio, with theft of government property, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services fraud, wire fraud, and false statements relating to health care matters.
According to the indictment, from October 5, 2010, through January 4, 2019, the defendant is accused of using his position with the Cleveland Veteran Affairs (VA) Medical Center to engage in a scheme to enrich himself and co-conspirators.
The indictment alleges that from on or about October 5, 2010, through on or about February 16, 2018, the defendant fraudulently used his VA-issued purchase card and facilitated the use of other VA employees’ purchase cards to make purchases from a company controlled by the defendant for approximately $1,066,348.
In addition, from on or about May 27, 2015, through on or about January 4, 2019, the defendant is accused of conspiring with a medical supplies company located in South Euclid, Ohio, to devise a scheme in which the defendant would receive kickbacks and other items of value, in exchange for steering VA business and other monetary awards to the medical supplies vendor.
Allegedly, it was part of the conspiracy that the defendant would solicit and accept items of value from the medical supplies vendor such as money, sporting event tickets and future business interest. The defendant would then provide favorable actions for the benefit of his co-conspirators and the medical supplies vendor when the opportunities arose. He is accused of concealing this activity from the Cleveland VA by providing false and misleading information to VA employees about reasons for ordering medical supplies. The defendant also allegedly falsified some patient records to make it appear patients had implants in their electronic health record that did not correlate to any actual surgical or medical procedure, to justify the purchase of implants.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.
In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of the Inspector General, Cleveland and the Cleveland Division of the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian McDonough.