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Man charged in Montreal hospital billing scam gets stiff sentence

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Montreal's Jewish General Hospital has undergone a major expansion in recent years.

A contractor who pled guilty to a false-billing scheme in connection with work done at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) in Montreal has received a jail term and a hefty fine.

Gilbert Leizerovici, who was head of the company R.A. Rénov-Action, was sentenced on Jan. 9 to 45 months in prison and ordered to pay $400,000. The series of federal and provincial tax infractions with which he was charged occurred between 2008 and 2013.

He was arrested twice: in October 2015 and March 2016.

The JGH entered into contracts with Leizerovici for renovation and maintenance work worth millions of dollars. The court found that some of the work that was billed for was never carried out, or was overcharged.

The JGH was the scene of a high-profile raid by UPAC, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit, in 2014, as part of a years-long investigation codenamed Projet Mercato, which was conducted with Revenue Quebec.

In addition to Leizerovici, six other individuals were arrested by UPAC, in connection with the scheme.

READ: JEWISH GENERAL HOSPITAL SUES EX-CONTRACTORS, EMPLOYEES FOR $4.2 MILLION

In October, Leizerovici was sentenced to 18 months behind bars on other charges, to which he pled guilty.

In November, former JGH project manager Jeffrey Fields, who also pled guilty, was sentenced to six months of house arrest and $16,000 in fines.

He was found to have authorized work at the homes of at least three JGH administrators, or their relatives or friends, by companies hired for maintenance jobs at the hospital – work that was fraudulently billed to the JGH – between 2008 and 2013. Leizerovici was the owner of one of those companies.

One of the administrators was Kotiel Berdugo, JGH’s director of technical services, who resigned in 2013. In 2016, Berdugo pleaded guilty to two of the three charges against him, for his complicity in the scheme, and was ordered to pay fines in the amount of $133,000.

Some charges against the owners of two other companies implicated in the scam were stayed in April, but other charges could still be pending.

In 2016, the JGH launched a $4.2-million lawsuit against Leizerovici and two of his associates, as well as three former JGH employees: Fields, Berdugo and Philippe Castiel, who was director of planning and real estate development.

The suit alleged that the three colluded in the scheme with Leizerovici and the other contractors.

According to information filed in court, R.A. Rénov-Action and other companies linked to Leizerovici received $15.5 million in contracts from the JGH between 2004 and 2013.

Asked for a comment, JGH spokesperson Carl Thériault told The CJN via email that, “The civil case is ongoing, and we have no further comment at this time.”