Doctor Acquitted in Insurance Fraud Case in Orange County

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 A sleep doctor was acquitted today of conspiring to rip off insurance companies of about $7 million in fraudulent claims in a case that took about a decade to finally go to trial. Jurors deliberated for about a day before acquitting Dr. Sim Carlisle Hoffman of one count of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

 Following weeks of testimony, Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard King granted a motion Thursday dumping all but one of 121 felony charges in the case. King ruled that prosecutors did not provide corroborating evidence to back up testimony of others who were originally charged in the case but had their charges later dismissed. The radiologist was originally charged with $17 million in workers' compensation insurance fraud, but over the years the alleged damage was whittled down to about $7 million.

 Hoffman was indicted with two others in 2011, and charges in the case were dismissed in 2013. The case was refiled in 2014. Since then, co-defendant Dr. Thomas Michael Heric died and charges against him were dismissed. Hoffman, who owned Advanced Professional Imaging, Advanced Management Services and Better Sleeping Medical Center in Buena Park at one point faced 883 counts of insurance fraud.

 Hoffman was accused of overbilling insurance companies for overpriced procedures at sleep and nerve testing centers, prosecutors said when the indictment was unsealed.

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