December 19, 2012 | 9:11am
Christian Eunsung Chung, a chiropractor in Orange and Los Angeles counties, was the co-mastermind of a massage parlor scheme that stole more than $1.7 million from the U.S. Treasury through false Medicare claims and today he can give back rubs for free to his cellmate.
Federal prosecutors inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse
in Santa Ana won guilty verdicts in July against Chung and co-conspirator Ku Il Lee
, a fellow chiropractor.
According to an indictment, Chung and Lee devised a scheme beginning in about 2006 that mostly lured members of the Korean community to their shops for massages, acupuncture and meals, and then manipulated Medicare by systematically falsifying documents about non-existent medical examinations and treatments.
This week, U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney sentenced Chung to an 87-month prison trip, ordered him to pay restitution of more than $1,488,000 and placed him in the custody of federal marshals.
There is no indication yet in the record about Lee's punishment.
After the guilty verdicts, both defendants asked for a new trial or acquittals by claiming there is a lack of evidence they were aware of the criminal operations in their shops. Federal prosecutors, however, reported that Chung and Lee (born in 1962 and 1972, respectively) devised a formula to cheat, controlled all the employees and received the bulk of the stolen funds.
Carney rejected the defense requests.