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Callahan & Blaine’s Miles also deposed Mogel and his lending partner, Lampariello of Medical Capital. It was Medical Capital’s high-interest-rate, $50 million loan to IHHI that had led Fitzgibbons to send the May 2005 e-mail, which, in turn, led to him being sued for slander by IHHI. Miles uncovered e-mails showing that Mogel and Lampariello had taken an unusual interest in providing a $5 million loan to an Internet-porn company called E Mark Advertising Inc., whose vice president is also listed on corporate paperwork for Form Labs. The company is headquartered in a small house in East Los Angeles, despite documents asserting it was housed in a state-of-the-art facility with hand-scanner security (see “New Complications In the IHHI Saga,” July 29).
Shortly after Miles began asking questions about E Mark, IHHI settled its lawsuit with Shah for $2.7 million and Mogel abruptly resigned, although, thanks to his December 2008 severance package, he’s still earning $40,000 per month.
On June 6 of this year, the SEC sued Medical Capital for defrauding investors—the alleged fraud supposedly included using their cash to, among other things, purchase a multimillion-dollar party yacht in Newport Beach—and froze the company’s assets.
According to Miles, the FBI is also investigating Mogel and Lampariello. “A special agent from the FBI came into our office to interview us with respect to issues concerning IHHI, Bruce Mogel and Medical Capital,” he says. “The FBI is concerned with whether the payment to Form Labs constitutes Medicare fraud.”
As the Weekly previously reported, e-mails sent to Form Labs were responded to by someone calling him- or herself “administrator” who refused to answer any questions about IHHI or Mogel. “By the direction of our attorneys, it is advised that we minimize contact by withholding names and telephone conversations until the matter is investigated further or resolved,” the person wrote.
Both Mogel and Anderson have refused repeated requests for an interview, citing pending litigation and confidentiality clauses. However, in a statement he released to the Weekly last year, Mogel proclaimed his innocence. “I want everyone to know the allegations in this lawsuit are outrageous and untrue,” he said. “The truth will come out.”
Meanwhile, thanks to IHHI’s legal and financial troubles, it has been years since any significant upgrades have occurred at its hospitals. “A lot of problems we were complaining about four years ago are still there,” says one doctor who asked not to be identified. “Nobody asked these people to come and run the hospital. They have dug themselves into a multimillion-dollar hole and have shown a willingness to sue anyone who criticizes them. They don’t have to win in court; all they need to do is force you to lose $100,000 a year defending yourself, and they’ve won.”
Despite having won a multimillion-dollar judgement against IHHI, Shah says he still awaits justice. “I could write a 500-page book about IHHI and how bad they were to Fitzgibbons and me,” he says. “We exposed Bruce Mogel and Joey Lampariello, but the government hasn’t really done anything.” Shah remains amazed at the details of Anderson’s sworn statement about Mogel’s bizarre tirade. “There are guys at the company who supported Mogel when Fitzgibbons was set up, and Bruce threatened to kidnap me and my daughter. The doctors are afraid to talk about this. And meanwhile, this company spent $8 million in its lawsuit against me, a physician who helped create this company, instead of spending it on new equipment or maintaining the hospital.”
Fitzgibbons still works at Western Medical, although he has lost about half of his practice and feels his reputation has been permanently damaged. His lawsuit against the hospital and IHHI has yet to reach a courtroom. Despite Mogel’s resignation and the ongoing SEC and FBI investigations into IHHI and Medical Capital, Fitzgibbons says he still fears for his life. “I can’t believe nobody has been arrested in this case,” he says. “Whoever planted a gun and drugs in my car and almost killed my daughter is still out there. Isn’t there some kind of punishment for this kind of illegal activity?”