Beaumont Trenton's medical chief denies embezzlement charge
The 15-year chief of the medical staff at Beaumont Hospital in Trenton was charged with embezzlement Monday in a case his attorney argues began with a clerical error and perhaps professional rivalry.
Dr. Iqbal Abdul Nasir of Grosse Ile was charged with embezzling more than $100,000 after a certificate of deposit belonging to the group matured in June and was automatically deposited into Nasir's personal bank account, Dov Lustig said Tuesday.
Lustig contends the internal medicine doctor — who is not employed by Beaumont Health and was elected by his peers — keeps more than $2 million of his personal money in the same bank, Lustig said. Nasir was not aware of the deposit until last week when Trenton Police requested he come in for an interview, he said.
"He absolutely has no intention of taking any money that’s not rightfully his," Lustig said, adding that Nasir doesn't dispute the money was deposited into his account and is happy to return it.
Nasir is involved in several businesses and is the owner of the former Riverside Osteopathic Hospital building. The doctor was preoccupied and not paying attention to the account, his lawyer said.
"His wife was gravely ill at the time," Lustig said. "This was a very community-oriented guy who’s got a lot going on.
"The doctor was financially very stable. There was an amount in his personal account where a mistake like this could be easily overlooked."
The investigation by Trenton Police was triggered by an unsigned letter mailed by an anonymous person in June, the attorney said.
Trenton Police referred calls about the case to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for information on the case.
Beaumont Health issued a statement saying Nasir is a private practice physician who is not employed by Beaumont Health.
"Dr. Nasir was not appointed as chief of staff by Beaumont. He is a physician in a private clinical practice elected by his peers to be chief of the medical staff, a separate, independent body," Beaumont said in the statement.
"The medical staff funds and controls the private bank account at issue. Beaumont and our donors do not contribute to it. The account covers professional development expenses, such as continuing medical education.
"The allegations against Dr. Nasir do not involve patient care, our highest priority. We will work with local law enforcement and cooperate with this investigation. Dr. Nasir has some administrative duties at the hospital, and leadership is evaluating appropriate next steps regarding those duties."
Lustig said Nasir was elected to lead hospital's medical staff for the 15th consecutive year last spring, and the allegation may have been politically motivated.
"I believe there was some disgruntled folks within that group," he said.
Nasir received a $100,000 personal bond.
Nasir was arraigned Monday before Judge James Kersten in the 33rd District Court. A probable cause conference is scheduled at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 30.
A preliminary exam will follow at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 6.