Criminal Justice News

Friday, September 28, 2012

Two Individuals Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud Violations



NEW ORLEANS—Daria Litvinova, age 25, of Metairie, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and Ernestine Girod, age 47, of Marrero, Louisiana pleaded guilty to health care fraud. The pleas were entered today before U.S. District Court Judge Lance M. Africk, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

According to superseding bill of information for Litvinova and the second superseding indictment for Girod, the defendants participated in a criminal organization for the purpose of fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid. Patients went to the medical clinics for medical tests that were not performed and not medically necessary. Clinic owners paid runners like Girod to bring Medicare and Medicaid patients to the clinics. Patients were moved between the various clinics to repeatedly perform the same unnecessary tests. According to the superseding bill of information and indictment, the doctors gave the patients prescriptions for drugs, usually narcotics, for their cooperation.

Thereafter, bills for the false and unnecessary services were submitted to Medicaid and Medicare by a third party medical claims processing and billing company that worked with other New Orleans-area clinics that have already entered guilty pleas.

Count one of the superseding bill of information, to which Litvinova pleaded guilty, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, carries a possible maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment. Count one of the second superseding indictment, to which GIrod pleaded guilty, carries a possible maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. Sentencing for Girod has been scheduled for January 10, 2013. Sentencing for Litvinova has been set for December 6, 2012.

Artem Gasparyan, Vadim Mysak, Anna Aivazova, Aram Khlgatian; the medical clinics, Health Plus Consulting Inc., Saturn Medical Group, New Millennium Medical Group, Inc.; and the biller, Solo Lucky Claims Processing Inc., have already pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Jo Ann Girod, Ernestine Girod’s, sister, plead guilty on October 17, 2011, and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,452.81.

The investigation was conducted by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; and the Louisiana Department of Justice, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrice Harris Sullivan, G. Dall Kammer, and Jordan Ginsberg.

Federal Judge Sentences Tuscaloosa Credit Union Robber to 41 Years in Prison



BIRMINGHAM—A federal judge Wednesday sentenced a Tuscaloosa man to 41 years in prison for armed robberies of two credit unions in 2011 and for escape from custody in December 2011, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.

Richard Patton, 22, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon to two counts of armed robbery and one count of using a firearm during a crime of violence, stemming from the February 1, 2011, hold-up of the Tuscaloosa County Credit Union and the April 20, 2011, robbery of the Alabama Central Credit Union in Tuscaloosa.

Kallon sentenced Patton to the 41 years in prison and ordered him to pay $58,000 in restitution. Patton will be supervised for an additional five years upon his release from custody.

Patton’s admissions Wednesday were part of a consolidated plea agreement that included a third case, charging him for escaping from the Cullman County Detention Center on December 2, 2011, while incarcerated as a federal prisoner. Patton had previously pleaded guilty to the escape but had not been sentenced.

The 41-year sentence also incorporated Patton’s earlier sentence for a third armed robbery, which occurred April 26, 2011, at the Tuscaloosa Credit Union in Northport, with some of the sentences imposed Wednesday running concurrently and others running consecutively to that 13 ½-year sentence.

These cases were investigated by the Tuscaloosa Police Department, the Northport Police Department, the Cullman Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the FBI; and it was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys L. James Weil Jr. and William G. Simpson.

Richard Khamir Hurd Pleads Guilty in Texas in Robert Griffin, III Extortion Attempt



WACO, TX—Richard Khamir Hurd, 25, of Waco, pleaded guilty today to federal charges in connection with an attempt to extort money from Robert Griffin, III, the current quarterback for the NFL’s Washington Redskins, announced U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman and FBI San Antonio Division Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez.

Appearing before U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith, Hurd pleaded guilty to an information charging him with interstate communication of a threat to injure the property or reputation of another person and receiving the proceeds of extortion.

By pleading guilty, Hurd admitted that between June 14, 2012 and June 22, 2012, he contacted one of Griffin’s agents initially demanding $1 million or else he would release information to the media which he claimed would severely damage Griffin’s reputation. According to court documents, during negotiations with Griffin’s agent conducted at the direction of the FBI, Hurd agreed to accept a lesser sum of $120,000 in exchange for the information and signing a “non-disclosure” agreement. On June 22, 2012, Hurd appeared in a Waco law office where he signed the “non-disclosure” agreement and collected a check for $120,000. Afterwards, FBI agents arrested Hurd.

Hurd, who is currently on bond, faces up to two years and three years in federal prison, respectively, for interstate communication of a threat and receipt of extortion proceeds.

Sentencing is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on November 21, 2012, before Judge Smith.

This investigation was conducted by agents with the FBI with assistance from the Waco Police Department and the Woodway, Texas Department of Public Safety. This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Gloff.

Former Florida Fundraiser and Accountant Associate Plead Guilty to Making Illegal Campaign Contributions



WASHINGTON—Timothy F. Mobley, a real estate developer based in Tampa, Florida, and accountant Timothy F. Hohl pleaded guilty today in Jacksonville, Florida federal court for their roles in illegal contributions to the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) and the campaign of an elected member of the U.S. Congress, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer.

Mobley, 60, pleaded guilty to one count each of making illegal conduit and illegal corporate contributions in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Hohl, 60, of Tampa, Florida, pleaded guilty to three counts of aiding and abetting those illegal contributions. Both defendants entered their guilty pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel B. Toomey.

During his guilty plea hearing, Mobley admitted that from March 2006 through October 2008, he made contributions to the campaign of an individual referred to in court documents as “Federal Elected Official A” that were above the limit established by FECA. Mobley admitted he disguised these contributions by recruiting and providing money to employees of his business entities and to one employee’s family member. He also admitted he used corporate funds to illegally reimburse the conduit contributions and that he attempted to conceal reimbursements to various employees by characterizing them as legitimate bonus compensation or advances on bonus compensation. Mobley admitted that in all, he reimbursed a total of $10,000 to RPOF and $84,300 in contributions to the campaign of Federal Elected Official A.

During his guilty plea hearing, Hohl admitted that while working as an accountant to Mobley and Mobley’s business entities from 2006 through 2008, he aided and abetted Mobley’s scheme to make the illegal excessive contributions. Hohl admitted he did so by participating in the reimbursement of other individuals, seeking and accepting reimbursement for his own contributions, and seeking and accepting reimbursement for his wife’s contributions.

On the FECA count charging him with making illegal excessive contributions in the amount of $25,000 or more for the calendar year 2008, Mobley faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $632,000 fine. On the second FECA count, charging him with making illegal corporate contributions in the amount of $25,000 or more for the calendar year 2008, he faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Hohl pleaded guilty to three counts charging him with aiding and abetting Mobley’s reimbursement scheme in 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively. The maximum potential penalty for each offense is one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys John P. Pearson and Eric G. Olshan of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section. The case was investigated by the Jacksonville and Tampa Field Offices of the FBI. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida provided assistance.

Hayden Man Pleads Guilty to Interfering with Flight of Historic Biplane



BIRMINGHAM—A Hayden man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to interfering with the June flight of a restored biplane landing at a private airfield beside his Blount County home by firing several shotgun blasts, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Haley, III.

Jason Allen McCay, 36, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins to one count of attempting to interfere with the authorized operation of an aircraft flying in the United States.

McCay is scheduled for sentencing January 10. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to McCay’s plea and other court documents, his interference with the aircraft occurred as follows:

McCay fired several shots from a 12-gauge semi-automatic Maverick shotgun as a restored 1943 Boeing Stearman biplane flew over his home on June 22 on its final approach to land on Campbell Field, a private grass strip runway next to McCay’s home. The plane was at an altitude of about 75 feet and was about 300 feet from touching down when McCay fired the shots.

Fred Campbell, who built the airstrip in 1963, bought the Stearman biplane in 1976 and, since that time, he and friends have completely rebuilt the plane. The plane had not flown for 30 years when they took it up on test flights June 22. The plane was concluding its third test flight of the day when McCay fired his shots.

McCay previously had filed numerous complaints with various agencies about airplanes flying over his house. He told investigators he fired when the Stearman biplane flew over his home because he wanted to scare the people on board.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Whisonant Sr. prosecuted.