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California Briefing / Santa Ana

Guilty plea in insurance scam

February 21, 2009|Robert J. Lopez

A Costa Mesa woman pleaded guilty Friday to recruiting people for unnecessary surgeries as part of a $154-million medical insurance fraud case spanning 39 states.

Sue Nanda, 40, pleaded guilty to 22 felony counts including conspiracy, grand theft, failing to file income taxes and capping, which is recruiting patients for fraudulent medical procedures, the Orange County district attorney's office said.

Nanda and others involved in the scheme were "ripping off the healthcare system and the public," Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said in a statement. "These types of crimes cannot occur without these cappers."

In all, 19 defendants have been charged in the case, including doctors, an accountant and an attorney. Six people have pleaded guilty and been sentenced, the district attorney's office said.

Nanda recruited more than 170 phony patients from 16 states, officials said. In exchange, the patients would receive a cash payment of $300 to $1,000 or a credit toward cosmetic surgery. Insurance carriers were billed for the surgeries.

-- Robert J. Lopez

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