Westlake man accused of defrauding Cleveland Clinic of nearly $3 million

A Westlake man is facing federal fraud charges after he allegedly defrauded Cleveland Clinic out of at least $2.8 million.

Wisam Rizk, who worked as Chief Technology Officer for Clinic spinoff company Interactive Visual Health Records, was arrested Thursday evening. Investigators accuse him and others of creating a fake company that would develop and design IVHR's software, thereby increasing the price the Clinic paid for development.

However, the fake company (known as iStarFZE LLC) never did any actual work, and Rizk also did not disclose the financial interest he had in the fake company, according to authorities.

Rizk had originally been hired at IVHR to help develop a visual medical charting concept of certain Clinic physicians into a functioning, marketable product, according to the indictment. The man who hired him, former Cleveland Clinic Innovations Executive Director Gary Fingerhut, has himself pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.

“Rizk utilized the trust that had been placed in him and his immense technical and organizational skill as weapons against the very company and associates who had entrusted him for the purpose of stealing close to $3 million,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony said.

An FBI investigation is still ongoing. U.S. Attorney Rebecca Lutzko is expected to prosecute the case.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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