Four convicted in $154-million medical insurance fraud
An attorney, an accountant and two medical administrators were convicted Monday for their parts in a $154-million insurance fraud scheme in which hundreds of healthy patients were recruited to undergo unnecessary and dangerous surgeries to fraudulently bill insurance providers, Orange County prosecutors said.
A jury found the four defendants guilty of charges related to revenue and tax fraud for the massive scheme, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office.
Each of the four also faces at least 100 additional felony counts because the court has broken the scheme into multiple cases because of its size, prosecutors said. Those additional charges include conspiracy, paying for referrals, grand theft, insurance fraud, making false and fraudulent claims, and filing a false tax return.
Roy Chester Dickson, an attorney for the medical company, was found guilty of two felony counts of filing a false personal tax form and faces a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in state prison, prosecutors said.
Andrew Robert Harnen, an accountant, was found guilty of three felony counts of filing a false tax return and six counts of failing to file tax returns. He faces a maximum sentence of eight years and four months in state prison.
Dee Francis, an administrator, was found guilty of one felony count of filing a false tax return and six counts of failing to file tax returns, and faces a maximum sentence of seven years in state prison.
Rosalinda Rodriguez Landon, another administrator, was found guilty of six felony counts of filing false tax returns, and faces a maximum sentence of six years and four months.
A number of other defendants, including three doctors, have pleaded guilty to charges related to conspiracy and insurance fraud.
The charges followed an investigation by the California Department of Insurance and the O.C. district attorney's office, with participation by the California Franchise Tax Board. An Orange County grand jury examined 1,054 exhibits, with testimony by more than 50 witnesses, resulting in a 70-page indictment.
Of the 19 defendants charged in the case, 13 were indicted by a criminal grand jury in June 2008, and six others had pleaded guilty before the indictment and have been sentenced.
Prosecutors said the employees of Unity Outpatient Surgery Center in Buena Park participated in the fraud, which recruited 2,841 healthy people from across the country to receive unnecessary surgeries in exchange for money or low-cost cosmetic surgery.
Prosecutors said insurance companies paid out more than $20 million over a nine-month period.
-- Rick Rojas in Orange County