St. Mary payroll target of probe Sources: Bogus paychecks could total $1.2 million

St. Mary payroll target of probe
Sources: Bogus paychecks could total $1.2 million
October 04, 2006 Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN - Bon Secours Health System Inc. has launched an internal investigation into whether hundreds of thousands of dollars in bogus paychecks were issued out of St. Mary Hospital's payroll department over an unspecified period of time, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The investigation officially began Thursday, when armed guards hired by Bon Secours marched into the medical facility to secure computers and change the locks on a number of doors, according to several sources.

Several administrative employees from across a range of departments are now barred from the hospital as the internal investigation continues, according to St. Mary Hospital spokeswoman Joan Quigley.

"We fully intend to prosecute if any wrongdoings are found, but right now we don't know if it was errors or a deliberative thing," Quigley said.

Officials offered few details on the allegations yesterday, but several sources said the amount of money allegedly stolen from the hospital could be as low as $200,000 and as high as $1.25 million.

This newest controversy comes as Hoboken officials are preparing to ink a deal that would give the city control of the beleaguered hospital, which nearly closed its doors after recording millions of dollars in losses over the past several years.

"I don't think this has any impact on the city. I think what this shows is that the hospital has not been run as it should be," said Hoboken Hospital Authority Interim Executive Director George Crimmins, who once served as business administrator under former mayor-turned-convict Anthony Russo.

Crimmins said the newly formed hospital board was briefed on the investigation by St. Mary CEO Harvey Holzberg during its first-ever board meeting Thursday and they are confident the investigation will conclude before the city officially takes over the hospital in the upcoming months.

A spokeswoman for Maryland-based Bon Secours would only confirm that an internal investigation is under way, adding that they contacted law enforcement officials to notify them of the events.

Hoboken police, the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation would not confirm nor deny the launch of a criminal investigation, but sources said that law enforcement officials are awaiting the results of Bon Secours inquiry before making any moves.

Quigley said the hospital has insurance that will protect it from any liability attributed to the loss of money.

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