Two ex-administrators are the latest to be convicted in the massive medical insurance billing fraud case involving the since-closed Unity Surgical Outpatient Center of Buena Park.
Dee Francis, 63, was sentenced to six years in state prison after pleading guilty the various counts Friday, while his former colleague Rosalinda Rodriguez Landon, 67, drew five years in the pokey for her guilty plea.
The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA), which has called this the largest medical fraud prosecution in the nation, had argued for 55-year sentences for the pair, who are accused of participating the scam that recruited healthy patients from all over the country to undergo unnecessary--and sometimes dangerous--surgeries for which health insurance companies were fraudulently billed. Both Francis and Landon will serve their time concurrently with their respective six- and five-year sentences for related convictions.
Francis was convicted by a jury in November on one count of filing a false tax return and six counts of failing to file tax returns. On Friday, he copped 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, and white collar crime sentencing enhancements for taking over $2.5 million. Capping means recruiting patients illegally. Besides the prison time, he was ordered in December to pay $905,507 in restitution.
Landon got the previous five-year sentence and a $1.1 million restitution order in December after a jury had also convicted her the previous month on six counts of failing to file tax returns. She pleaded guilty Friday 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.
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So far, 14 Unity doctors, cappers or administrators have pleaded guilty to various charges, with many receiving prison stretches or facing looming sentencing hearings. A Unity doctor, attorney and accountant still face trials, although the attorney and accountant were previously convicted on tax charges.
These prosecutions are the result of a 2008 grand jury indictment over $154 million in Unity billings for unneeded surgeries for 2,841 healthy people.