RIVERSIDE – Today, May 6, 2019, a Moreno Valley man was sentenced to six years in state prison and ordered to pay more than $5 million in victim restitution for stealing medical supplies from Riverside Community Hospital.
Oscar Orlando Bernal, DOB: 10-12-80, pled guilty on April 4, 2019, to seven counts of grand theft and admitted a special enhancement for felony theft exceeding $500,000. Bernal will also forfeit $200,000 that was seized by the District Attorney’s Office during the case.
When arrested by Riverside police, Bernal had been working as a surgical assistant at the hospital for more than 10 years. As charged in the criminal complaint, it is believed the crimes occurred over at least the past three years.
Riverside Community Hospital (RCH) uses medical cartridges, which contain surgical staples, known as “reloads,” in certain operations performed at the hospital. RCH employees noticed that their supply of reloads did not conform to the number of surgeries that required the use of reloads. An internal investigation was started by RCH officials working with the Riverside Police Department.
The investigation revealed that Bernal was taking reloads from RCH supply stations, hiding them in his clothes and then placing them in the men’s locker room. At the end of his shift, Bernal would take the reloads out of the hospital. Bernal then illegally sold the reloads to out-of-area medical supply businesses. RCH’s investigation revealed Bernal’s theft resulted in the loss of thousands of reloads.
In January 2019, Riverside police served a search warrant at Bernal’s home and recovered dozens of missing reloads and several thousand dollars in cash.
The case, RIF1900510, was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Harold Anderson and Timothy Brown of the DA’s Special Prosecutions Section.