Former RCH employee accused of stealing nearly $3M in medical supplies

RIVERSIDE — A Moreno Valley man who had blamed his employer, Riverside Community Hospital, for contributing to the death of his wife after a deadly traffic crash six years ago has been arrested and charged with stealing nearly $3 million worth of medical supplies from the hospital where he formerly worked.

After his wife’s death, Oscar Orlando Bernal, 38, of Moreno Valley, later sued the hospital where he worked and his wife passed away; but over the next several years but became the focus of a criminal investigation after hospital staff began to notice discrepancies in their inventory supplies. The outcome of Bernal’s civil suit against RCH was not immediately known.

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Based on the discrepancies in their supplies, Riverside Community Hospital staff last May began an internal investigation and thorough audit “after noticing discrepancies with their need to purchase a specific medical supply that is used during surgeries,” Riverside PD said in a social media release after Bernal’s arrest.

During that audit, “hospital staff found that their purchases for medical staples exceeded the number of surgeries that had occurred over the past three years,” RPD explained. After the conclusion of their audit, hospital administrators contacted Riverside PD and requested a formal investigation.

Oscar Bernal was arrest4ed and charged last week with stealing nearly $3 million in medical supplies from the hospital where he used to work. RPD photo

With assistance from hospital administrators, detectives began a “thorough and lengthy investigation,” and in December 2018 were able to identify Bernal as a possible suspect, according to RPD.

Based on their investigation, on Jan. 16, Riverside PD served a search warrant at Bernal’s Moreno Valley home, in the 11200 block of Showdown Ln, east of Pidgeon Pass Rd. During the service of that search warrant, detectives and other officials located “stolen medical staples and additional evidence,” said RPD.

Detectives continued working with hospital staff and arrested Bernal the next morning, Thursday, Jan. 31.

Bernal was later booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center on suspicion of seven felony counts of grand theft, embezzlement, and a white-collar crime enhancement. Jail records indicate he remains in custody, held in lieu of $2,942,000 bail – the amount of medical supplies Bernal is alleged to have embezzled.

“The Riverside Police Department has been very responsive since the time we reported this matter,” Riverside Community Hospital Spokesperson Cherie Crutcher, later said. “We especially appreciate their diligent effort and quick response in their investigation of this individual.”

Riverside PD’s investigation is ongoing and officials have asked that anyone with additional information about the alleged thefts to contact Detective Ron Knoffloch at (951) 826-8718 or by email.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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