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Highlands Ranch doctor accused of stealing nearly $300,000 from COVID-19 relief programs

Francis Joseph has been charged with four counts.

DENVER — A Highlands Ranch doctor is in serious trouble with the U.S. government after they say he stole nearly $300,000 from three COVID-19 relief programs.

Dr. Francis Joseph, 56, has been indicted on four counts, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). They are:

  • Theft in connection with health care 
  • Theft of government property 
  • Wire Fraud 
  • Making a false statement in connection with a bankruptcy proceeding

>Video above: What to do if you are the victim of unemployment fraud?

According to a federal government news release, Joseph transferred around $118,000 in COVID-19 relief funding from a medical clinic's account into his personal bank account. The money was spent on, among other things, travel and home improvements, DOJ alleges. The government said the money came from two programs that were meant to aid medical providers during the COVID-19 pandemic -- the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program and the Provider Relief Fund.

The indictment says Joseph's clinic fired him after finding out about the theft. About two months after his termination, Joseph applied for a $179,999 loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on behalf of the medical practice, which he then directed into his personal bank account, according to the indictment.

Joseph's next court appearance is scheduled for May 25.

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