Oscar Bernal, an ex-surgical assistant at Riverside Community Hospital was sentenced to 6 years in prison and ordered to pay $5 million in restitution Monday. The 38 year old will also forfeit $200,000 that was seized during the investigation into his crimes.
The ex Moreno Valley resident was convicted of stealing almost $3 million worth of medical supplies from the hospital. Bernal had blamed Riverside Community Hospital for contributing to the death of his wife in a traffic crash and sued the hospital six years ago.
In May of 2018, staff members at the Riverside Community Hospital noticed discrepancies with their need to purchase a specific medical supply that was used during surgeries.
An audit was conducted and hospital staff found that their purchases for medical staples exceeded the number of surgeries that had occurred over the past three years. Detectives began a lengthy investigation, and in December 2018 and with the assistance of hospital administrators, were able to identify the suspect.
On January 16, 2019, a search warrant was served during which stolen medical staples and additional evidence were recovered from Bernal’s home. Investigators found dozens of missing medical cartridges known as “reloads” which contain surgical staples. Police say he stole the cartridges from supply stations at the hospital and illegally sold them to medical supply businesses outside the local area.
He was arrested and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center for multiple counts of grand theft and embezzlement. Bernal stole over $2.9 million dollars’ worth of medical staples over the course of three years.