The president of a Rockville Centre-based collection agency was arrested after stealing $1.6 million from a Bronx hospital, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Norman Alpren, 71, of Long Beach, collected the money on behalf of St. Barnabas Hospital, but used it for his firm’s operating expenses instead of paying it to the hospital, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
“The defendant was a trusted businessman who handled accounts for numerous clients, but he allegedly stole more than $1.6 million from a hospital to keep his company afloat,” Singas said in a statement.
The defendant and the company, MBI Associates Inc., each were charged with grand larceny, a felony, she said.
Alpren could be sentenced to 8 1⁄3 to 25 years in prison if found guilty. Bail was set at $50,000 in cash or a $100,000 bond when he was arraigned Wednesday before Judge Scott Siller, Singas said.
While the hospital had no immediate comment, Robert Abiuso, Alpren’s attorney, in a statement said: “The hospital at issue has collected upwards of 13 million dollars as a result of Mr. Alpren’s efforts over a four year period.”
He added: “Mr. Alpren is a pillar of his community, involved in many civic organizations too numerous to mention. We fully expect that Mr. Alpren will be vindicated at trial.”
The hospital severed its ties to MBI in September 2014, after it discovered payments collected from its patients, starting Nov. 25, 2012, had been diverted, the district attorney said.
The defendant continued to receive payments from the hospital’s patients until Feb. 18, 2015, she said.
In April 2015, the hospital turned the case over to prosecutors because St. Barnabas had not received the money it was owed, the district attorney said. The missing payments totaled $1,606,525.23, Singas said, adding her office conducted a 23-month investigation.
“Hospitals are an integral part of our economy and should not have to worry about contractors lining their pockets with ill-gotten gains,” she said.