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Jury convicts Highlands Ranch doctor in PPP fraud case

Francis Joseph was accused of depositing funds meant for his employer into his personal bank account.

DENVER — A jury convicted a Highlands Ranch doctor last week on several federal counts after he was indicted in 2021 and accused of stealing nearly $300,000 from three COVID-19 relief programs.

Dr. Francis Joseph, was initially indicted on the following four counts:

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

According to a federal government news release, Joseph transferred about $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 said. 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 went to trial in U.S. District Court in Denver on three of the four counts. On Jan. 13, jurors found him guilty on two counts but acquitted him on the other.

He's set to be sentenced on April 6.

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