Dalton police: Hamilton Health Care System allegedly defrauded of $1.2 million

Hamilton Medical Center

Dalton police are looking into a report that somebody stole $1.2 million from Hamilton Health Care System by tricking its lead financial employee.

According to an incident report, somebody emailed hospital management on Nov. 20, claiming to be the chief financial officer of a construction company that has been working on the hospital. The person said the company didn't want payments through checks anymore. They supposedly wanted the hospital to electronically wire the money.

photo Hamilton Health Care System logo (Photo: hamiltonhealth.com)

After receiving a voided check from Harris Bank in Chicago, Hamilton Healthcare System Director of Finance and Treasury Services Steven Bridenstine wired $1.2 million in two payments. He sent the first payment on Nov. 29 and the second on Dec. 12.

A week after the second payment, according to the incident report, the topic of fraud came up in a meeting. Bridenstine decided to call the construction company, making sure they got their money. An employee for the company told him that it never got the $1.2 million. Also, the company's leaders didn't ask for the payments to come in electronically.

Bridenstine reported the alleged wire fraud to Dalton police on Dec. 28. Bruce Frazier, a spokesman for the department, said an officer who also works with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force is investigating the case.

"He's deputized federally, so he has access to resources that other officers can't put their fingers on," Frazier said.

Bridenstine declined to comment and Hamilton Healthcare System CEO Jeff Myers did not immediately return a call seeking comment.