■Dr. Yorai Benzeevi pleaded no contest to financial crimes committed while he was running Tulare Regional MC.
■Benzeevi will have to pay $2.4 million in restitution.
■Prosecutors seek sentence of one year in custody for Benzeevi.
The former CEO of Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, Dr. Yorai “Benny” Benzeevi, pleaded no contest on Friday to six conflict of interest felonies and two misdemeanors about campaign finance during his tenure at Tulare Regional Medical Center.
HCCA managed both TRMC and Southern Inyo Hospital.
Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward is requesting a year in custody for Benzeevi. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 19.
Part of the conviction includes a restitution payment of $2.4 million.
“What began over seven years with a grassroots effort of citizen activism by the residents of Tulare became a complex criminal case,” Ward said in a statement. “Today, this defendant stands convicted of six felony counts reflective of each incident perpetrated by him on the Tulare Regional Medical Center and the Southern Inyo Hospital.”
Case vs. Benzeevi Nears End More Than Six Years After TRMC Closes
Tulare Regional Medical Center declared bankruptcy in October 2017. It took a year before Adventist Health took over the hospital, eventually purchasing it.
By 2020, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office had filed charges against Benzeevi, the chief financial officer at the time, Alan Germany; and the hospital’s attorney, Bruce Greene.
Benzeevi pleaded no contest to eight of the 46 charges against him.
While Benzeevi was CEO, he, Greene, and Germany made contracts between the hospital and companies they had financial interests in. They also used hospital money to pay for legal fees in lawsuits against doctors, including Benzeevi.
Benzeevi also extended a line of credit to Southern Inyo Hospital using money from TRMC without disclosing it to the Tulare Local Healthcare District. In addition, he made loans from his company, HCCA, to TRMC, which violated conflict-of-interest laws.
Germany is now serving his two-year probation sentence. In addition, he has to do 540 hours of community service and pay $150,000 in restitution.
Of Germany’s restitution payment, $100,000 will go to the Tulare hospital and $50,000 to Southern Inyo Hospital.
The amount Benzeevi will pay to the two hospitals has yet to be determined, but a spokesperson with the Tulare DA’s office expects $2 million to go to the Tulare hospital and $400,000 to Southern Inyo.
The case against Greene is ongoing.