One of two dockworkers charged with defrauding the medical plan of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13 out of $225,000 for chiropractic services that either weren’t provided or were unnecessary pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal felony count.
Sergio Amador, 50, of Downey, entered his plea in Los Angeles to a single count of mail fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 1, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Co-defendant David Gomez is awaiting trial next month on 20 counts of mail fraud, which each carry a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Amador and Gomez, 52, of San Pedro, created three medical management companies that billed the Pacific Maritime Association Welfare Plan for medical care, according to prosecutors.
The ILWU represents dockworkers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Members receive their medical benefits through the PMA Welfare Plan.
In 2009, Amador and Gomez opened a clinic in Long Beach operating under the name Port Medical that purported to provide general medical and chiropractic care. The next year, they opened a second clinic operating under the same name in San Pedro.
The pair incorporated Port Medical and opened bank accounts for the three companies to receive funds from the clinic. Those monies were then used to pay themselves and pay incentives to and on behalf of plan members, prosecutors allege.
In return, those members would receive medical and chiropractic services at Port Medical and encourage other plan members to do the same, according to the government.
The indictment alleges that the defendants gave plan members incentives, including sports team sponsorships, cash payments, free massages and facials, and other gifts and services in return for those benefit plan members receiving medical and chiropractic services from Port Medical.
Those services — and others apparently never provided — then were billed to the Welfare Plan, according to the indictment.
As a result of the scheme, Port Medical received at least $225,000 from the Welfare Plan, according to the indictment.
–City News Service
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