PLEA IN SURGERY CENTER FRAUD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
April 7, 2006
Contact: RICK WELSH, Deputy District Attorney
               714-347-8724

SANTA ANA – This morning, April 7, 2006, Henry Truong entered a guilty plea to conspiracy, five counts of insurance fraud, seven counts of capping (in this case paying patients and being paid for recruiting patients for surgery), he admitted to enhancements alleging the loss exceeded $2,500,000.00 and also entered a plea to filing fraudulent tax returns.  Mr. Truong was sentenced to 12 years in state prison and has agreed to pay restitution on all counts.

This case arose from a joint investigation initiated by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and joined in by the California Department of Insurance and the California Franchise Tax Board.   Henry Truong is the sixth person to have admitted his guilty association with the Unity and St. Paul Outpatient Surgery Centers in this case.  There are criminal charges still pending against six other defendants with more persons expected to be arrested and charged in this matter. 

The charges arise from a massive insurance fraud involving outpatient surgery centers in Orange County.  Mr. Truong has admitted to having been involved in recruiting close to 600 patients from 3 different states.  These patients were responsible for over $30,000,000.00 in insurance billings, of which close to $5,000,000.00 was paid by the victim insurance companies.  In total, these surgery centers submitted in excess of $90,000,000.00 in insurance billings to numerous victim insurance companies who paid approximately $16,000,000.00.  Patients were recruited for surgical procedures at these two clinics from at least 33 different states. 

On December 27, 2005, Tam Vu Pham, Huong Thien Ngo, and Lan Thi Ngoc Nguyen all entered guilty pleas in the first case filed and have agreed to cooperate with the investigation.  Mr. Pham, the on-site manager for the surgery center, had been assisted by his wife Huong Ngo and her aunt Lan Nguyen.  Sentencing has been continued; however, according to the terms of his plea, Mr. Pham will receive 13 years in state prison.  Ms. Ngo will be sentenced to 7 years state prison that will be suspended pending her successful completion of a 5 year grant of probation and similarly her aunt, Mrs. Nguyen will be sentenced to 5 years state prison that will be suspended pending her successful completion of a 5 year grant of probation. 

This is an on-going investigation with additional arrests expected.

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