Two former medical administrators – co-defendants of a Seal Beach doctor who pleaded guilty for his role in a $154 million medical insurance fraud – were sentenced to six years in state prison Jan 11 for recruiting thousands of healthy patients to undergo unnecessary and dangerous surgeries. The case is the nation’s largest medical fraud prosecution.
Dee Francis, 63, and Rosalinda Rodriguez Landon, 67, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from their role in the largest medical fraud case prosecuted in the nations’ history, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
The scam -- which recruited 2,841 people to fraudulently-obtain medical care in exchange for money or low cost cosmetic surgery -- revolved around the Unity Outpatient Surgery Center in Buena Park, but also included two other surgery centers, prosecutors said.
Francis, pleaded guilty Jan. 11 to two felony counts of conspiracy, eight felony counts of capping or paying for referrals, 30 felony counts of grand theft, 30 felony counts of insurance fraud, 30 felony counts of making false and fraudulent claims, one felony count of filing a false tax return along with white collar crime sentencing enhancements for taking over $2.5 million.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office asked for a sentence of 55 years in state prison. Francis was sentenced to six years in state prison, Jan. 11.
The six-year sentence will be served concurrent to the sentence Francis received Dec. 20, of six years in state prison and $905,507 restitution for a Nov. 26, conviction by a jury of one felony count of filing a false tax return and six felony counts of failing to file tax returns.
Landon, 67 pleaded guilty to the court Jan. 11, to two felony counts of conspiracy, eight felony counts of capping or paying for referrals, 30 felony counts of grand theft, 30 felony counts of insurance fraud, 30 felony counts of making false and fraudulent claims, one felony count of money laundering, and white collar crime sentencing enhancements for taking over $2.5 million.
The DA’s office asked for a sentence of 55 years in state prison. Landon was sentenced to five years and four months in state prison Jan. 11.
The sentence will be served concurrent to the sentence Landon received Dec. 20, of five years and four months in state prison and $1,104,496 restitution for a Nov. 26, conviction by a jury of six felony counts of filing false tax returns.
Co-defendant Doctor William Wilson Hampton, Jr., 57, Seal Beach, pleaded guilty May 8, 2009, to 47 felony counts including conspiracy, insurance fraud, and capping and was sentenced to 16 years in state prison.
Landon and Francis were clinic administrators and recruited doctors and patient recruiters called “cappers.” According to the District Attorney, the two ran the Unity facility, coordinated the fraudulent surgeries, sent all facility billings, received payments from insurance companies on fraudulent billings, and received and paid capper invoices for patient procedures. Insurance companies paid out more than $20 million over a 9-month period.
Of the 19 defendants charged in the Unity case, 13 were indicted by a criminal grand jury on June 13, 2008. Six other defendants in the Unity case pleaded guilty prior to the indictment and have been sentenced. The Orange County Grand Jury examined 1,054 exhibits and heard testimony from 56 witnesses over 28 days, resulting in a 70-page indictment.
The indicted defendants include an attorney, accountant, three doctors, and patient recruiters known as “cappers.” The recruitment of patients, or “capping,” is illegal in California.
Unity was jointly investigated by the California Department of Insurance and Orange County District Attorney’s Office with assistance from the California Franchise Tax Board.
-- City News Service contributed to this story