Another former employee has been sentenced for his crimes in the $154 million Unity medical insurance fraud scheme that involved thousands of healthy patients being recruited to undergo unnecessary and dangerous surgeries at a now-shuttered Buena Park facility so insurance companies could be fraudulently billed.
But the punishment given to Unity's ex-accountant Andrew Robert Harnen, 59, of Rosemead, does not sit well with the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).
For Harnen's guilty plea last week to two felony counts of conspiracy, eight felony counts of capping or paying for patient 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, he was sentenced to five years and four months in state prison.
Prosecutors William Overtoom and George McFetridge wanted Harnen to do 41 years and eight months behind bars.
The time Harnen received will run concurrent with the sentence he received on Dec. 20, 2012, after being convicted on multiple counts of filing false tax returns and filing no returns at all. At that time, he was ordered to pay $904,780 in restitution for the tax counts. He now must return to court Dec. 6 for a hearing on how much restitution he must repay to insurance companies he scammed.
The largest such medical fraud insurance case in the country, according to the OCDA, it involved dozens of Unity employees recruiting 2,841 healthy people from all over the country to receive unnecessary surgeries in exchange for money or low cost cosmetic surgery. 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.
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Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.