Man pleads not guilty to taking kickbacks

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — A 54-year-old Glendale man on Friday pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to allegations that he accepted more than $3 million in kickbacks for construction contracts while overseeing building projects at Pasadena’s Huntington Memorial Hospital.

David Hamedany pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of mail fraud for allegedly authorizing $3.8 million in payments on behalf of the hospital to construction companies that in turn made kickback payments of more than $3 million to businesses controlled by Hamedany or one of his relatives, according to the federal grand jury indictment.

He was arrested by FBI agents at his Glendale home last week and remains in custody. Each count of mail fraud carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison, officials said.

From 2006 through June 2010, Hamedany served as the hospital’s director of construction and had the authority to award contracts and approve invoices for the hospital, according to the indictment.

His attorney could not be reached for comment after Friday’s hearing.

He is also facing civil fraud litigation filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court last year by Huntington Memorial Hospital officials in October in an attempt to recover at least $3.8 million in funds that officials allege were spent illegally during the scheme.

According to the civil complaint, the hospital claims Hamedany hired construction companies “operated by his cronies that billed the hospital for services that were never provided.”

In January, FBI agents seized roughly $480,000 from a bank account into which Hamedany transferred about $585,000, according to the U.S. district attorney’s office.

The federal investigation was launched after hospital officials conducted an internal audit and referred the matter to authorities, hospital officials said in a statement.

Three Northern California companies allegedly received the majority of the money involved in the fraudulent contracts, collectively taking in more than $3 million from the hospital, according to the indictment.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson set a trial date for March 22, although attorneys indicated they would likely file a motion to push the trial to June to allow more time to review the thousands of pages of evidence.

The thousands of pages of bank statements and other financial records are “a key part of the evidence,” said Assistant U.S. Atty. Angela Davis.

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