The owner of three supposed “wellness” centers in the Long Beach area has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care insurance fraud and one count of aggravated identify theft, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California reported Sept. 14.
Sara Victoria, 46, of San Pedro, was charged along with eight others, seven of whom are Port of Long Beach dock workers belonging to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union – Pacific Maritime Association (ILWU-PMA).
For Services Rendered
The dock workers are alleged to have conspired with Victoria to bill their union's health care plan for acupuncture and chiropractic services that were never rendered – and for sex services that were.
The USAO said Victoria, the group's ringleader, hired women from referrals and strip clubs in the Long Beach area to provide sex services. The union members who received the sex services allowed Victoria to submit false claims to the union's healthcare program. In exchange, Victoria paid kickbacks to the union members.
Four of the dockworkers are expected to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. The other three will plead guilty to one count of theft in connection with health care, the L.A. Times reported on Sept. 15. An employee of Victoria has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy.
The USAO said that Victoria submitted more than $2.1 million in fraudulent claims to the health plan, although the plan only paid $551,810. Prosecutors said she faces 12 years in federal prison, the maximum sentence allowable.
Sometimes, it's easy to get caught up in an enticing fraud scheme, but if the FBI places you under arrest, exercise your right to stay silent until you have legal counsel.
The Sigal Law Group is known for its aggressive defense in federal criminal matters. If you face federal charges, they can help. For a free consultation, call 818-325-0570.