Four Sentenced in Nation's Largest Medical Fraud Case

Citing, "old-fashioned greed," an Orange County Judge Sentenced four people in connection with a $154 medical fraud scheme, in which patients were allegedly recruited for unnecessary and dangerous surgeries.

Four people were sentenced to between two and six years behind bars today for tax fraud in connection with the $154 million insurance fraud scheme, in which the defendants allegedly recruited thousands of people for unnecessary and dangerous surgeries to bilk insurance companies.

It is the largest medical fraud case the nation has ever seen, involving thousands of patients and dozens of insurance companies that were allegedly defrauded.

Dee Francis, 62, was sentenced to six years in prison, while Rosalinda Landon, 67, and Andrew Harnen, 58, each received terms of five years and four months, and 64-year-old Roy Dixon was sentenced to two years and eight months for their part in the scheme.

Their sentences will likely be served in county jail, due to statewide prison realignment brought about by overcrowding, officials said.

In the upcoming second phase of the trial, doctors and administrators will face more than 100 charges pertaining to conspiracy and medical fraud.

Seal Beach Dr. William Wilson Hampton, Jr., 57,  already pleaded guilty to 47 felony counts including conspiracy, insurance fraud, and capping and was sentenced to 16 years in state prison.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals gave the defendants credit for time served, which amounts to about four years for Harnen, almost three years for Landon and Francis and 206 days for Dickson, officials said. Goethals also ordered stiff financial restitution. Landon was ordered to pay back more than $1.1 million; Francis and Harnen both more than $900,000.

Some of those charged created shell corporations, cheated on their taxes, or both, according to prosecutors.

Jurors last month convicted the four on a combined 24 tax-fraud counts -- primarily focused on tax evasion and failing to report taxable income. They still face a second trial on allegations of defrauding more than 30 insurance firms across the country with claims for unnecessary medical procedures.

Joining them as a defendant in the secondary phase will be Dr. Mario Rosenberg, 65.

Proceedings on the second phase were scheduled to begin Jan. 3.

According to prosecutors, the ploy involved the recruitment of 2,841 patients from across the country for unnecessary medical tests to defraud insurance companies. The ruse revolved around the Unity Outpatient Surgery Center in Buena Park, but also included two other surgery centers, prosecutors said.

Of the 19 people charged in the case, 14 have pleaded guilty.

The alleged scheme -- which prosecutors claim ran for a number of years and ended in 2003 -- was the brainchild of Tam Vu Pham, one of the owners of Unity.

Pham pleaded guilty in December 2005, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and has since been released.

Goethals chided the defendants for what he construed as a lack of remorse about avoiding taxes at a time when the state is crushed by a lack of revenue.

"You took advantage of the services of the great state of California and you wanted it free," Goethals said. "We all have to pay our fair share.

"I have tried to figure out a reason for your actions, and the only thing I can think of it was a classic case of good, old-fashioned greed," the judge said.

 - City News Service

Lil-Marty December 21, 2012 at 06:36 PM
They ought to lock these people up and throw away the key! My twin brother (Artie) and myself once went to see a doctor that claimed he could make us grow taller. We paid all kinds of money for this medication that he claimed would make us grow. We grew alright! Guess where? That's right, you guessed it! The women love it but we are still about 4'1" tall! Lil Marty Leisure World
Lil' Shrimp December 21, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I knew you were messin around on me!
Lil-Marty December 21, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I meant the woman loved Artie. Lil Marty
artie short December 22, 2012 at 01:57 AM
okay marty ...watever player.. you punished all kinds of woman with new HORSE -like feature!!! i remember tiny tina. & minnie driver..& who can forget lil shrimps friend crabby kathy!!!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »