A local doctor arrested after an embezzlement investigation pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Monday (Dec. 9), officials said.
Dr. Ruben Tejada, formerly of Northwest Health System, enter the plea in Benton County Circuit Court and is set to appear in court again for an omnibus hearing Feb. 18, said Van Stone, Benton County prosecuting attorney.
Not guilty pleas are common at arraignments, allowing a criminal suspect’s case to proceed in the judicial system.
Tejada, 54, of Rogers was booked into the Benton County Jail on Oct. 31 and has been charged with theft of property, a Class B felony, officials said. He was released without bond on Oct. 31 on his own recognizance, records show.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Tejada is accused of keeping cash from self-pay patients and instructing a staff member to keep two sets of books so he wouldn’t get caught. He told employees if they didn’t do what he said that he knew someone in the Mafia, which employees perceived as a threat. He also implied he was part of the Mafia, the document states.
Tejada stole $27,380 from the health system, according to the affidavit.
The health system hired Tejada and his staff on Feb. 1, 2013, with his office being at 2805 S.E. Midcities Dr. in Bentonville, the affidavit states. He has not worked for the health system since August.
In a statement Oct. 31, Northwest Health System said it was “aware that Dr. Tejada has been arrested.”
“He has not worked in our organization since August, and we have cooperated with the authorities in their investigation of this matter. Any additional questions should be referred to the prosecutor’s office,” according to the statement issued by spokeswoman Patricia Driscoll.