Former Jackson employee pleads guilty to theft

A former Jackson Health System employee responsible for checking in hospital patients and collecting their payments pleaded guilty Thursday to felony theft charges for stealing patients’ funds and depositing them into his personal account, the Miami-Dade Office of the Inspector General reported Friday.

Michael R. Clarke, who was fired in November 2009 for abandoning his post, admitted to stealing 17 patient checks valued at about $7,780 between June 2008 and July 2009, according to a joint investigation between the OIG and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.

Clarke was sentenced to 12 years probation, and ordered to pay restitution to Jackson, plus the costs of the county’s investigation.

A patient care assistant at the Batchelor Urology Center on Jackson’s main campus in Miami, Clarke persuaded patients to make their checks out to “cash” or leave the payee information blank, according to the report.

Then he deposited the funds into his personal credit union account, and he manipulated Jackson’s computer system to ensure that no invoice would be generated.

Jackson administrators were tipped off to Clarke after receiving complaints from patients about payments they had made that were supposed to be credited to their patient accounts but were never recorded, according to the OIG’s report.

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