Dr. Benny Benzeevi’s home was recently searched as part of an ongoing investigation into Healthcare Conglomerate Associates and its management of the Tulare Local Healthcare District, officials have confirmed.
A search warrant was served on April 4 at 3:50pm by the Tulare County District Attorney’s office and an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Benzeevi is the chairman and CEO of Healthcare Conglomerate Associates (HCCA); the company formerly managed the district’s Tulare Regional Medical Center under a contract with the district from 2014 until November of 2017.
Attorneys for Benzeevi, and the company, have consistently denied any allegations of wrongdoing.
“It appears that the [Tulare County] DA has been badly mislead, and the taxpayers are paying a high price for it,” Marshall Grossman, an attorney for HCCA, told the Voice.
The District Attorney’s office declined to comment for this article, but the office will be providing an update on the investigation to the Tulare Local Healthcare District’s Board of Directors at its meeting on April 25 at 6:30pm.
Tim Ward, the Tulare County District Attorney, had previously stated that the investigation into HCCA’s management of the Tulare hospital was the “largest investigation ever undertaken” in March, and that his office had support from the California Department of Justice in the investigation.
According to a Statement of Probable Cause, investigators searched for documents from January 1, 2014 to the present day for documents relating to HCCA as well as Vi Healthcare Finance, Tulare Asset Management, Medflow, and Benzeevi’s personal medical LLC. All are controlled by Benzeevi.
The Tulare Local Healthcare District has previously accused HCCA and Benzeevi of executing an unauthorized loan against the district’s assets, and subsequently transferring the money to Tulare Asset Management.
Medflow previously managed the hospital’s emergency department; Vi Healthcare Finance, created in June of 2017, previously entered into an agreement with the Southern Inyo Healthcare District to extend it a line of credit.
In requesting the warrant, officials marked that the warrant was to search for “property or things [that] were used as the means of committing a felony,” and “property or things to be seized consist of any item or constitute any evidence that tends to show a felony has been committed, or tends to show that a particular person has committed a felony.”
The statement of probable cause also shows investigators intended to search for documents relating to operations of the Southern Inyo Hospital and the Southern Inyo Healthcare District — in addition to Tulare — and communications between Dr. Benzeevi and his siblings, Iddo and Dikla Benzeevi.
Investigators seized nine cell phones, multiple laptops, over 20 USB flash drives, multiple tablets, and searched the contents of a black safe. Five of the cell phones were inside of a bag, alongside a Samsung tablet with three $45 Verizon Wireless prepaid cards.
They also took a multitude of documents, including a physicians’ message pad, a “folder containing El Dorado Savings Bank documents,” HCCA and hospital business documents, and “IRS and miscellaneous hospital paperwork.”
Additionally, officials seized a “401(K) Plan-Level Dashboard Report” and “Fiduciary Investment Review.”
The Statement of Probable Cause and other documents are available below.