Former hospital employee accused of fraud
A former hospital administrator faces federal charges of stealing $310,000
A former Queen's Medical Center administrator responsible for ensuring compliance with the law is accused of steering more than $300,000 in hospital money to companies she owned for consulting work that was never performed.
Patricia M. Syling was charged in a federal criminal complaint Dec. 13 with mail fraud -- knowingly engaging in a scheme to defraud Queen's of $310,000 by mailing payments her companies received to be deposited into her accounts.
According to an FBI affidavit, Syling worked as Queen's corporate compliance administrator from January 2001 to October 2004. Her duties included overseeing collection activities by Queen's from various private health-care insurers and government agencies.
She also had authority to "solicit and negotiate" vendor and service contracts that were then executed by the hospital's chief operating officer, the complaint said.
Syling allegedly failed to disclose to her employer before the contracts were executed that the companies that received the consulting contracts -- HealthCare Financial & Compliance Management and HealthCare Financial Group -- were owned and operated by her from her residence.
From January 2002 to September 2003, Syling caused the officer, identified only as "D.J." in the complaint, to enter into two contracts that paid $310,000 to her companies.
The contracts called for providing "various compliant management services," but Queen's administrators could find no evidence that any work was performed.
The services had been provided by Syling within the course and scope of her work at Queen's.
FBI Special Agent Edward Ortega served Syling with a warrant for her arrest on Tuesday, according to court records.
Brandon Simpson, FBI spokesman here, confirmed only that Syling is not in custody but is expected to appear at a January hearing in U.S. District Court here to answer to the charges.
The assistant U.S. attorney assigned to the case could not be reached for comment.
Queen's spokeswoman Monica Ivey said hospital officials could not discuss the matter in detail.
"We are aware of the legal matter related to a former employee and are fully cooperating with the authorities," she said in an e-mail. "However, because of the legal nature of the situation, we are unable to discus any of the details at this time."
Syling could not be reached for comment.