Remarks by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas
Unity Outpatient Surgery Center Doctors
May 16, 2007

Thank you all for coming.  Please be patient with us today.  We have a lot of information, some of which is complicated.  We have condensed the information as succinctly as possible. 


With us today is Deputy Director Kimberly Kirchmeyer from the Medical Board of California and Public Affairs Spokeswoman Holly McDonnell from the Franchise Tax Board.  I wanted to thank the Medical Board of California and the Franchise Tax Board for their assistance in this case.  Ms. Kirchmeyer will be speaking about the licensing status of these doctors.

We are also honored to have Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner here with us today.  Steve came to this office last year while running for Insurance Commissioner and promised to work with us to fight insurance fraud.  He is keeping his word by taking an aggressive leadership role in this battle.

Mr. Poizner founded a highly successful Silicon Valley company, SnapTrack, which developed breakthrough technology that allows emergency services to pinpoint cell phone calls and save lives.  In 2001, he was tapped to serve in the White House Fellowship program in Washington, DC, arriving only days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a time of national crisis, Steve’s leadership enabled him to serve his country as Director of Critical Infrastructure Protection in the National Security Council.

When Steve returned to California, he sought out new ways to give back to his community. Passionate about improving the quality of the state’s public schools, Steve volunteered to teach American Government at an inner city high school in east San Jose and was selected “Rookie Teacher of the Year.”

Steve is committed to fighting insurance fraud.  He understands the issues and I am proud to have him as a law enforcement partner.  We look forward to hearing from him soon. 


We also have with us Senior Assistant District Attorney Joe D’Agastino, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Henderson and Deputy District Attorney Rick Welsh.  The rest of the Unity prosecution team is, of course, working hard out in the field this morning. 


As you know, three medical doctors were arrested this morning on 47 felony counts each, which can send them to prison for 49 years.  These types of cases take a tremendous amount of resources and work.  The Unity case involves over three terabytes of data, which if printed and stacked up, would be 20 times the height of the Empire State building.  


Our office, with significant assistance from the Department of Insurance, the Franchise Tax Board, and California Medical Board, began investigating this case in November 2001.  The first three defendants — Tam Vu Pham, Huong Thien Ngo, and Lan Thi Ngoc Nguyen, the administrators for Unity — were arrested and charged in July of 2004. 


From July 2002 to April 2003, Unity fraudulently billed $96 million and collected $17 million from insurance companies.  Unity brought in around 2,000 healthy patients from 32 states. In exchange for money or cosmetic surgery, patient allowed doctors to perform unnecessary surgeries.