A former Intermountain Health Care executive and two other men were charged Tuesday with 28 counts of felony theft following an audit that says more than $400,000 was embezzled from the company.

Stewart E. Simpson, 44, the former IHC assistant vice president of finance, was charged with 14 counts of theft, a second-degree felony. Vic L. Wells, 38, was charged with 10 counts of theft, and Douglas M. Schaerrer, 43, was charged with four counts of theft for allegedly conspiring with Simpson.Simpson also served as the chief operating officer of IHC's collection agency, Accounts Receivable Management. He resigned from the company after the audit revealed the missing money.

Prosecutors say Simpson received kickbacks from a collection agency and a constable service in exchange for retaining exclusive contracts with them.

Advanced Process Service, a constable service owned by Wells, fraudulently billed IHC and was paid more than $430,000, according to court documents filed in 3rd Circuit Court. IHC was billed on at least 10 occasions for "research and release of judgments."

Although Wells' company received payment for such services, the documents say the services never were necessary nor were they ever provided.

Simpson also is charged with paying Sharco, a collections agency owned by Schaerrer, with more than $7,500 "for analysis of calling system for collection calling." Court documents further state that such services were unnecessary and were never given.

In late February, IHC management held a series of meetings with the three men and confronted them with the results of the audit. It was discovered that after IHC made payments to Wells' and Schaerrer's companies, Wells and Schaerrer paid Simpson money equaling or approximating the amounts billed on the invoices, the court information says.

Prosecutors contend Simpson received the kickbacks from the fraudulent billings and used the money for his own personal use. Wells and Schaerrer are charged with participating in the scheme to retain exclusive business contracts with Simpson and IHC.

IHC spokesman John Taylor said the company has severed all ties with Wells' and Schaerrer's organizations.

"It was a very cleverly designed, very cleverly covered scheme on the part of someone who knew the system very well," IHC senior vice president Steven Kohlert said last month.

The thefts are alleged to have occurred from as far back as July 1988 to February 1990.

The three men are scheduled to surrender to authorities at the Salt Lake County Jail on Monday, said Deputy County Attorney Kent Morgan. Bail for Simpson has been set at $20,000 and $15,000 for the other two men.