Medical Insurance Fraudsters Get Prison

     SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) – Two Orange, Calif. surgery center employees were sentenced to federal prison Friday for an insurance fraud that submitted $71 million in bills for cosmetic surgeries, many of them unnecessary.
     Both defendants worked for a surgery center in Orange known at various times as Princess Cosmetic Surgery, Vista Surgical Center and Empire Surgical Center.
     Theresa Fisher, 45, of Tustin, was sentenced to 41 months and ordered to pay $2.6 million in restitution. She worked as a “consultant” at the surgery center. A jury in March convicted her of five counts of mail fraud.
     Lindsay Hargraves, 30, of San Pedro, was sentenced to five months in prison and ordered to pay $85,000 in restitution. The same jury convicted her of two counts of mail fraud.
     They told patients they could get free or discounted surgeries “if they underwent multiple, medically unnecessary procedures that would be billed to their union or PPO health care benefit program,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     The unnecessary procedures typically were endoscopies, colonoscopies and cystoscopies, in return for which they got free or discounted tummy tucks, breast augmentations and liposuction.
     A third defendant, Vi Nguyen, 31, of Placentia, has pleaded guilty to four counts of mail fraud and will be sentenced on July 10.
     Prosecutors said a “very conservative” estimate of the money insurers lost for unnecessary procedures was $2.6 million.

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