|For Immediate Release
May 16, 2007
Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
THREE DOCTORS ARRESTED IN UNITY OUTPATIENT SURGERY CENTER SCAM FOR PERFORMING UNNECESSARY SURGERIES AND FRAUDULENT INSURANCE BILLING
*Largest medical fraud case in the United States involving 17 defendants
SANTA ANA – The California Department of Insurance and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office have arrested three doctors in the largest medical fraud prosecution in the nation. The doctors are the latest charged defendants in the Unity Outpatient Surgery Center (Unity) scheme and are accused of performing unnecessary surgical procedures and fraudulently billing over $30 million to medical insurance companies. The Franchise Tax Board and the Medical Board of California have provided substantial assistance in this investigation.
The three defendants are Dr. Michael Cheeluen Chan, 61, Cerritos, an obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. William Wilson Hampton, Jr., 51, Seal Beach, general surgeon, and Dr. Mario Z. Rosenberg, 60, Beverly Hills, a gastroenterologist. Each doctor has been charged with 47 felony counts, including one count of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, eight counts of paying cappers, 19 counts of insurance fraud, and 19 counts for using cappers to recruit patients from the victim insurance companies. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 49 years and four months. Bail for Chan, Hampton, and Rosenberg is set at $1.8 million, $1 million, and $2.3 million respectively. Deputy District Attorney Rick Welsh of the Economic Crimes Unit is prosecuting this case. The arraignment is expected tomorrow, Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5 or C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
“Insurance fraud is a $15 billion epidemic in California,” said Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. “Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime; it has a price tag for every Californian that is equivalent to a $500 fraud tax on every man, woman and child. Fighting insurance fraud is one of my top priorities and together with law enforcement and District Attorneys we will fight fraud wherever it exists.”
“The Medical Board of California is pleased to have worked so well with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in our mutual endeavor to protect the public,” said Candis Cohen, Information Officer of the Medical Board of California.
“We are talking about doctors who were real life body snatchers, doctors putting people on a medical conveyer belt to make a quick buck,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “Doctors have a respected position in our community, entrusted with our health and well being. We take this fiduciary relationship very seriously, and we hope that these prosecutions serve as a warning to any doctor who may feel tempted to engage in this behavior. If doctors commit these types of crimes.”