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Criminal Proceedings

This archive displays posts tagged as involving criminal law proceedings relevant to whistleblowers. You may also be interested in our pages:

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October 18, 2018

Dr. Felmor Agatep, a Florida-based doctor, has plead guilty to receiving kickbacks and defrauding TRICARE over prescriptions to outrageously expensive and medically unnecessary pain and scar creams. According to the DOJ press release, a one month supply of the creams in question cost more than $16,000 when made by a compounding pharmacy. At some point in late 2014, Agatep agreed to receive kickbacks from a marketing group of $100 per TRICARE patient in exchange for writing prescriptions for these creams. In just a month and a half, Agatep allegedly wrote a total of 265 prescriptions, which amounted to a bill of $4.4 million for TRICARE. He now faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. USAO MDFL

October 17, 2018

A former financial advisor turned online sportswear retailer has been convicted of numerous counts of fraud for running a $20 million Ponzi scheme. Between 2014 and 2017, Dawn Bennett allegedly convinced investors to invest in her company, DJB Holdings, by misrepresenting its financial health and the investment risks. With the money she obtained from 46 investors, many of them elderly, Bennett paid legal expenses and repaid earlier investors. After the fraud was discovered, Bennett allegedly arranged to have priests in India perform protective spells on her behalf. Unfortunately for her, the spells did not work as intended, and she now faces a lifetime in prison. USAO MD

October 17, 2018

An investment advisor who owned and operated an investment firm called CM Capital Management LLC has plead guilty to running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded 53 investors of $6.1 million over the course of 13 years. In at least 13 of those cases, the investors with Edward Lee Moody, Jr.'s firm were elderly people who had entrusted him with their life savings. Instead of investing the funds on his clients' behalf, Moody used them to buy securities for himself, as well as buy a home, make car payments, and travel. To cover his tracks, he paid earlier investors using funds obtained from newer investors and created falsified statements that showed earned returns. Yet the reality was that in most of those cases, Moody hadn't even opened brokerage accounts for his clients, let alone buy securities on their behalf. He now faces a sentence of decades in prison at his sentencing in February. USAO EDVA

October 16, 2018

Two doctors and three nurses were sentenced to prison for their roles in fraudulently billing Medicare $11 million through claims submitted by two companies—Timely Home Health Services Inc., a home health provider, and Boomer House Calls, a house call provider, both in the Dallas area. The scheme allegedly took place from 2007 to 2015 and involved falsifying records so it appeared that Medicare beneficiaries received home health services when in fact they did not. The five defendants will serve sentences ranging from as little as 6 months to as much as 10 years in prison. DOJ

October 16, 2018

A Medicaid transportation provider, its president, and a driver have been sentenced to pay a $10,000 fine and serve 2-4 years in prison for stealing a total of $1.2 million from New York's Medicaid program. The driver who was sentenced, Haimid Thompson, was accused of paying a Medicaid recipient to enroll in services from his employer and submitting falsified logs showing daily trips on behalf of the recipient. He was ordered to pay $23,598. The company, 716 Transportation, Inc., was sentenced to a fine of $10,000, and the president, Wossen Ambaye was ordered to pay restitution of $900,497, for knowing the services billed were not actually provided. NY AG

October 15, 2018

The heir of a family skincare business has been sentenced to almost 3 years in prison for multiple counts of tax fraud. James Wright of B&P Company, Inc.—which has been selling a wrinkle reduction product called Frownies since 1889—allegedly diverted money from the company to a series of entities that he then used to fund personal expenses. Through a company he called The Remnant, Inc., Wright paid rent and utilities for himself and other immediate family members. Through a private foundation he called Fore Fathers Foundation, he paid high school and college tuition for his five children. According to the DOJ press release, Wright had previously pleaded guilty to concealing income through trusts. In addition to the new prison sentence, he is ordered to pay almost restitution of $150,000. DOJ

October 12, 2018

A father and son duo has plead guilty to causing over $27 million in losses from Affordable Care Act (ACA) programs in twelve states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. Jeffrey and Nicholas White of California allegedly made a living from drug rehabilitation centers through patient referral bonuses and cuts of money paid out by ACA programs. To maximize their profits, they enrolled participants in ACA programs in high paying states, regardless of whether the participants even lived in that state. The Whites also went to great lengths to further the fraud, including creating fictitious contact information, paying patients' insurance premiums, and paying for their transport to out-of-state rehabilitation centers. They each face a maximum of 10 years in prison. USAO CT

October 11, 2018

A Washington couple will serve time in federal prison for defrauding investors of $12.7 million over the course of 7 years. Delving into their ties to various religious organization, Laurence Hong and Grace Hong convinced more than 55 clients to invest their life savings in a hedge fund that they called Pishon Holdings, by claiming that Laurence had experience investing vast sums of money on behalf of wealthy families and Grace had experience working for an investment firm. In fact, Laurence, also known as Sung Hong, had just completed a nearly 3 year sentence for investment fraud when he began the new scheme. With the funds they stole from investors, the couple paid for rent on a house, bought a yacht and multiple luxury vehicles (including an Aston Martin, BMW, Lamborghini, and Maserati), and went on extravagant family vacations to the Bahamas and Beverly Hills. Laurence will now serve another 15 years in prison, and Grace, also known as Hyun Joo Hong, will serve 6 years. They have also been ordered to pay restitution of more than $12.7 million. USAO WDWA

October 9, 2018

Darrell Smith, who had worked as an investment advisor in Northern Iowa, was sentenced to nearly 15 years in prison following a guilty plea for charges arising from his fraudulent  diversion of funds from his clients to bio-energy and ethanol companies that he owned and/or controlled.  Smith stole over $2.4 million from client accounts, and has been ordered to pay restitution of over $ 1 million.   DOJ

October 4, 2018

Mercy Ainabe of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to nine years in prison for her role in a $3.6 million home healthcare Medicare fraud scheme.  Ainabe served as a patient recruiter, selling patient information to home healthcare companies, including Texas Tender Care, which then submitted claims to Medicare for home health services that were not medically necessary, were not provided, or both. USAO SDTX
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