See the update at the end of this post on the last of 19 defendants in this case entering a guilty plea today.
ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 28, 6:09 P.M.: And then there was one.
With Dr. Mario Rosenberg pleading no contest last week to charges stemming from the wide ranging case against the shuttered Unity Outpatient Surgery Center of Buena Park, only one defendant remains from the $154 million insurance fraud scheme.
He is Roy Chester Dickson, Unity's 65-year-old lawyer who represented himself and–in the first phase of the trial–was convicted of various tax fraud counts, sentenced to more than two years in jail and ordered to pay more than $40,000 in restitution. He is expected to face a second trial this week that concerns criminal counts of defrauding insurance companies.
Dickson, who was disbarred by the State Bar because of the case, has appealed his previous conviction.
Thousands of people were recruited from around the country and flown into Buena Park for unnecessary medical procedures that were charged to health-insurance companies. Some of those convicted have also faced counts related to tax fraud because income was not reported.
Rosenberg pleaded no contest Friday to two counts of filing false claims to 16
insurance companies and did not contest sentencing enhancements for white-collar fraud totaling more than $500,000.
Deputy District Attorney Bill Overtoom, who told City News Service that Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals could sentence Rosenberg to probation or up to 10 years in prison, claims the physician owes more than $22 million, plus interest and
other costs, in restitution.
But Rosenberg's attorney Jennifer Keller countered her client believes he did nothing wrong and only entered the plea because he cannot afford to keep fighting the charges in court.
Seventeen other defendants have pleaded guilty in the case.
UPDATE, JAN. 30, 3:56 P.M.: Attorney Roy Chester Dickson pleaded guilty today to felony money laundering and grand theft with white collar crime sentencing enhancements, according to prosecutors.
As mentioned in the original post, a jury on Nov. 26, 2012, had found Dickson guilty in the same case of two felony counts of filing a false personal tax return, for which he was sentenced to two years and eight months in state prison and $41,629 in restitution.
He is scheduled to be sentenced for today's convictions on Aug. 8, when he faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.