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4 convicted in multimillion-dollar medical fraud

The Orange County District Attorney secured convictions for four individuals for federal crimes involving medical fraud in what is turning out to be the largest single prosecution of its type in the country. The defendants are alleged to have recruited healthy patients to undergo unnecessary surgeries in order to bill insurance companies fraudulently. The prosecution has split the case into parts based on the sheer volume of counts and indictments involved, including income tax evasion.

The Unity Outpatient Surgery Center in Buena Park is said to have recruited more than 2,800 people to undergo unnecessary surgery in exchange for low-cost cosmetic procedures or monetary payments. Insurance companies were billed a total of $20 million in less than a year. Before returning a 70-page indictment against 13 defendants, a grand jury heard testimony from 56 witnesses and examined 1,054 exhibits or pieces of evidence.

Included among the defendants were doctors, an attorney and administrators. The center received more than $5.1 million in payments from surgeries alone. Among the unnecessary procedures were hysterectomies, laproscopic procedures and tubaligations. Several of the defendants face jail time and millions of dollars in restitution.

In such a large criminal action, it is vital for individual defendants to have representation from a criminal defense attorney. Without such individual representation, suspects risk not having a full understanding of their rights and options. By retaining a criminal defense lawyer, individuals involved in large-scale illegal operations such as this one can protect their rights.

Source: OC Weekly, "4 More Go Down in $154 Million Medical Billing Fraud Prosecution," Matt Coker, Nov. 26, 2012

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