The 50,000-member Georgetown University Community Health Plan has apparently lost at least $250,000 in an alleged investment fraud scheme based in Albany, N. Y.
Richard J. Gordon, Resident of Lifeline Management Co. in Albany, was arrested by FBI agents Thursday after they found him hiding in the closed of a Dupont Circle area apartment, according to Assistant U. S. Attorney E. Anne McKinsey.
Gordon had $4,800 in cash and opendated airline tickets to London and Paris in his possession at the time of his arrest on federal mail and wire fraud charges, sources said.
Norbert Meister, chief financial officer of the Georgetown prepaid health care plan, resigned Thursday, sources said. Leonard Greenbaum, attorney for the health plan, said Meister resigned "because there were some questions about the investments that created some problems between him and his supervisors. Whether they were matters of judgment, I do not know." Meister was unavailable for comment.
Greenbaum, the only Georgetown health plan official who would comment on the case, said the health plan's books are being audited to determine the exact amount lost. "I'm trying to figure out what claims we have against whom and trying to figure out what funds were safeguarded and what might be retrieved. It's a very small portion of the (health plan's) working capital," said Greenbaum.
According to court documents, Gordon received money from investors with which he was supposed to buy high-interest certificates of deposit. Instead, the documents state, he "converted the money to his own use."
According to the documents, Meister told the FBI he gave Gordons $100,000 last March to buy certificates of deposit from Bankers Trust Co. of Albany.
Bankers Trust told the FBI that no such certificates were purchased, according to court records. The money, the records said, was instead deposited in Gordon's account.
Gordon sent a "Bankers money market certificate" to Meister, the record states, but the certificate was "a false and fraudulent document."
According to Greenbaum, the money invested with Gordon came from the annual premiums that the plan's members pay to cover all their health care costs.
Sources said the amount of the loss could range from $250,000 to $340,000. The nonprofit plan has $24 million in assets.
Willie Stewart, the agent in charge of the FBI's Albany field office, said, "We're so early into this investigation we don't really know what we have. The company folded up (last week) and about 40 employes were fired and then people started screaming."
Albert Lewis, New York state insurance superintendent, said Lifeline "was a licensed agency to sell life, accident and health insurance in New York State."
According to sources, the case is now being investigated by a federal grand jury in Albany, as well as by Lewis's office.
Gordon surrendered his passport yesterday to Magistrate Lawrence Margolis, in U. S. District Court here.
He was released after posting a $50,000 bond and was told he could travel between Albany, Washington and New York City.