June 1, 2016 Staff Report
A New Jersey woman has been charged with siphoning $2 million from a medical clinic with offices in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Jamie Cha worked as an in-house medical biller for Liberty Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, which is located at 40-37 81st St. in Elmhurst and formerly had an office at 37-55 77th St. in Jackson Heights. According to Brown, Cha allegedly stole approximately $2 million over a seven-year period by taking insurance checks issued to the clinic and depositing them into a bank account that she opened under the facility’s name in her home state of New Jersey.
Between January 2009 and December 2015, Cha allegedly deposited more than 500 checks intended for her employer.
In her capacity as medical biller, Cha had access to checks as they were received by mail to the clinic, but was not authorized to deposit them. However, she was allegedly listed on the New Jersey account as the president of the facility and was the sole person authorized to make withdrawals.
The owner of the medical clinic discovered that there was a problem when he attempted to deposit a check in October 2015 but discovered that it had already been deposited to Cha’s account in New Jersey, according to Brown.
“The defendant, who was a longtime and trusted employee, is alleged to have taken advantage of that trust by stealing millions of dollars worth of checks,” Brown Said. “For years, she allegedly used the medical office’s money as if it were her own. The defendant must be held accountable for her actions, if proven true.”
Cha was charged with first-degree grand larceny and first-degree identity theft. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Liberty Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation declined to comment for this story.
Brown’s office was unable to provide contact information for Cha’s defense attorney as of this writing.