Man charged with $600,000 in check theft from Tacoma medical clinic
June 22, 1999
John Gillie; The News Tribune
The former spouse of a prominent Pierce County deputy prosecutor was charged with 85 counts of theft Monday in connection with a scheme that involved the theft of almost $600,000 from a local medical clinic.
King County deputy prosecutor Scott Peterson claimed Francis Corey-Boulet wrote a total of 371 unauthorized checks totaling $598,580 on the account of a Tacoma clinic and the company that managed it.
Corey-Boulet is the former husband of Pierce County deputy prosecutor Barbara Corey-Boulet. The couple divorced in April in Franklin County Superior Court in the Tri-Cities area. Pierce County Prosecutor John Ladenburg referred the investigation to King County because of conflicts of interest.
Barbara Corey-Boulet headed the prosecutor's special assault unit for eight years. She now heads the prosecutor's appeals unit and has been lead prosecutor in numerous high-profile murder cases. Most recently she successfully prosecuted Guy Rasmussen in the 1996 murder and rape of 9-year-old Cynthia Allinger.
Barbara Corey-Boulet said she had no involvement in her ex-husband's actions that led to the theft charges.
"All I have to say is I am no longer married to him. I obviously had no knowledge of it and no involvement whatsoever in it. I'm certainly not being charged," she said.
"I work in the system, and I honor the criminal justice system and issues of personal integrity very highly. I never, ever would be involved in anything of this nature."
She wouldn't comment on the specific charges.
"(Her ex-husband) is entitled to his day in court. It is inappropriate for me to comment on a case in which I had no knowledge or involvement."
The 60 first-degree theft and 25 second-degree theft charges filed Monday concern 85 checks written since June 20, 1996. A 3-year statute of limitations bars charges concerning checks written before that date. Prosecutors say Francis Corey-Boulet wrote the 371 unauthorized checks between April 1990 and March 1998.
William Michelman, the defendant's Tacoma attorney, said his client will plead not guilty at his June 29 arraignment.
Michelman contended his client was entitled to the money because the provisions of his contract to manage the clinic allowed him to share in the profits of the enterprise along with the two doctors who founded it.
"It's just the method he used to pay himself that's at issue," the attorney said.
According to court documents, Francis Corey-Boulet was administrator and a partner in Prism Management Services Inc. for nine years. Prism provided management services for Pacific Sports Medicine Inc., a clinic founded by two orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Jeffrey Nacht and Dr. Gregory Popich.
Pacific paid Prism whatever remained of its revenues after paying the salaries of doctors and professional employees. Prism paid Pacific's office rental lease, purchased medical supplies for the clinic and paid the salaries of its administrative employees, court documents say.
Court documents say the two doctors discovered that Francis Corey-Boulet had written unauthorized checks after both Prism and Pacific began bouncing checks. Gail Nacht, the wife of one of the partners and a Prism staff member, began examining the books and bank accounts in early 1998 and discovered several checks missing from the corporation's bank statements, prosecutors claim.
When she got copies of those checks from the bank, she discovered Francis Corey-Boulet had written them for cash, endorsed them and deposited them to his personal bank account, court records claim.
When the two doctors confronted him May 2, 1998, he initially told them he had used the cash to buy cashier's checks to replace bounced checks. When the doctors noted that he had endorsed the checks and put his bank account number on the back, Francis Corey-Boulet changed his story, prosecutors contend.
The two doctors fired him and filed a civil suit in Pierce County Superior Court against him and Barbara Corey-Boulet. That suit is set for trial in September.
In that civil suit, Francis Corey-Boulet claimed he and his wife loaned the clinic tens of thousands of dollars to keep it afloat because the two doctors were overpaying themselves, thus reducing profits available to the management company. He believed the clinic owed him money.
Barbara Corey-Boulet earlier this year filed for bankruptcy in federal court. She is is seeking to erase any potential financial liability from the civil suit or from the federal government, which may seek back-tax payments for unreported income.
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* Staff writer John Gillie covers courts in Pierce County. Reach him at 253-597-8663 or email@example.com.
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