Portland man sentenced to 4 years in prison for theft of $3 mill - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland man sentenced to 4 years in prison for theft of $3 million from HRAs

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A Portland man has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison and ordered to pay back $3 million in funds stolen from health reimbursement accounts.

Darren Bottinelli, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of theft in March and was sentenced in court Wednesday.

Investigators said Bottinelli stole from the individual HRAs that were under the management of his company, Axis Benefit Administrators Inc. or AXIS Health Partners, between 2009 and 2014.

Bottinelli served as the sole shareholder, officer and director of Axis, administering employee health reimbursement and flexible spending accounts for client employers nationwide.

According to Axis contracts with employers, the company pledged to post employer contributions to trust accounts for participants who could then seek reimbursement for eligible health expenditures from their account funds.

In March 2014, according to the Department of Justice, Bottinelli abruptly closed the Axis office without any communication to client employers or plan participants.

As a result, more than 3,000 plan participants were unable to access their account funds. Victims reported financial devastation, blocked access to necessary medical treatment and severe emotional trauma as a result of Bottinelli's theft and failure to provide notice of the company's closure, according to a DOJ report.

Many of his clients included agencies that employ veterans, mentally and physically disabled adults and other vulnerable people.

"Bottinelli improperly and repeatedly accessed trust account funds to maintain a luxurious lifestyle, including memberships to exclusive and private clubs, frequent high-end dining, expensive wine purchases, and first class travel," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon.  

Bottinelli was sentenced to 46 months in prison Wednesday and ordered to pay nearly $3.1 million in restitution to his victims.

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