LA Woman Who Ran Health Care Fraud Scheme Sentenced to Prison

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A San Pedro woman was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months behind bars for her role in a scheme that submitted phony claims to a labor union health plan at the Port of Long Beach.

Sara Victoria, 46, was also ordered to pay $551,810 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Victoria pleaded guilty in December to federal charges of conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.

Victoria admitted in her plea agreement to owning three businesses between 2017 and 2021 that provided sexual services as well as chiropractic and acupuncture treatments.

Knowing that longshoremen and others involved in the shipping industry in Long Beach had health insurance under the International Longshore and Warehouse Union-Pacific Maritime Association benefit plan that generally covered all chiropractic services without a deductible, co-pay or out-of-pocket expenses, Victoria offered dock workers cash kickbacks or sexual services in exchange for authorization to submit false claims for services not actually rendered, papers filed in Los Angeles federal court show.

Victoria hired prostitutes at her companies and recruited them through referrals and from strip clubs in the Long Beach area, according to her plea agreement.

Victoria was among nine defendants -- seven of them dock workers at the Port of Long Beach -- who were charged last year for allowing more than $2.1 million in fraudulent claims to be submitted to their union's health insurance plan. Some of the false claims were filed using the names of dock workers' family members, including spouses and children.

All nine defendants have filed plea agreements in the case, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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