CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — A former Chief Operating Officer (COO) of a Morgantown-based medical practice and one of its physicians were charged on Tuesday for allegedly stealing more than $650,000 from their employer, per a release from the Department of Justice.

Francisco Ortiz, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., and James Brooks Mersing, 35, of Morgantown, have both been indicted on charges of defrauding their employer, Wedgewood Physicians, Inc. The indictment claims that Ortiz used his position as COO to divert funds over the course of three years for his personal benefit and for the benefit of Mersing, the physician that is also facing charges.

Ortiz allegedly used the funds to pay for personal travel, home improvements, ordering various items from Amazon, as well as other fraudulent purchases. Ortiz also allegedly caused unauthorized bonuses to be paid to Mersing, who then reportedly returned a portion of the money to Ortiz as a kickback.

“White-collar crime costs the United States hundreds of billions of dollars each year,” said United
States Attorney William Ihlenfeld. “The Department of Justice will continue to pursue white-collar
wrongdoers and hold them accountable for their misconduct.”

Ortiz currently faces 31 counts of bank fraud with Mersing facing 11. If convicted, each count carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison.