- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The former controller for the District-based Federation of American Hospitals is facing criminal charges over accusations that he bilked the lobbying group of more than $300,000.

Doug Mairena faces to up to five years in prison if convicted on felony conspiracy charges filed recently in federal court in the District.

The development makes Mr. Mairena the second official at the association to face criminal charges stemming from a phony-check writing scheme that authorities say they uncovered earlier this year.

In September, federal authorities charged Mark Freeman, a former executive assistant at the hospital trade group.

Freeman pleaded guilty in October and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and pay $48,069 in restitution.

An employee of the law office representing Mr. Mairena said Monday that neither he nor his attorneys would have any comment on the pending charges. Mr. Mairena did not return a phone message.

Jeffrey G. Micklos, senior vice president and general counsel of the hospital federation, called Mr. Mairena’s case “an unfortunate situation involving an abuse of trust.”

“The matter was identified internally, reported immediately to our board, and corrective action was taken,” Mr. Micklos said.

“One action involved reporting the matter to law enforcement, and the filing shows that law enforcement has successfully pursued justice in the case,” he said.

The federation is a trade group that represents investor-owned hospitals and health care systems nationwide.

Behind the lucrative scheme at the federation was an erasable typewriter, according to charging documents in both cases.

Mr. Mairena would prepare legitimate checks to pay vendors, obtain the required staff signatures and send the payments, prosecutors say. Then, authorities say, he would prepare a second set of phony checks for the same vendors and obtain the required signatures.

Finally, Mr. Mairena would alter the phony check by inserting it through an erasable typewriter, removing the vendor’s name and inserting his name as the payee, prosecutors say.

From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Mairena received $328,960, prosecutors say.

Freeman, who at the time was Mr. Mairena’s executive assistant, approached the former controller about the scheme in 2003, charging documents say.

Freeman kept quiet about what he saw as Mr. Mairena paid him with multiple phony checks totaling $48,069, according to the charges.



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