A Rancho Mirage cosmetic surgeon was ordered Friday to immediately begin serving a 20-year federal prison sentence for a fraud scheme he was convicted of while on the lam.
Dr. David M. Morrow, 75, who used to live in Rancho Mirage, was brought back to Los Angeles late Thursday night after he was extradited from Israel, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton ordered Morrow, who was brought to a Santa Ana courtroom Friday morning, to immediately begin serving the sentence she handed down in September 2017 when the defendant was convicted in absentia for running a scheme that ripped off insurance companies by ordering cosmetic procedures that he falsely claimed were medically necessary, prosecutors said.
Morrow pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and filing a false tax return, but investigators suspect he fled the country in May 2017 with his wife, Linda Morrow, 67, who is facing a grand jury indictment alleging she participated in the $50 million scheme operated out of the Rancho Mirage-based Morrow Institute, prosecutors said.
Linda Morrow also faces contempt of court charges for going on the lam with her husband, and is scheduled to go on trial June 16.
Before the couple fled, they did not report to court officials that they sold their Beverly Hills home for $9.45 million and shifted about $4 million to bank accounts in Israel, prosecutors said.
The Morrows used phony Mexican passports with aliases to get into Israel, where they attempted to gain citizenship with the bogus identities. They had new aliases and Guatemalan passports when they were arrested in Israel last year, prosecutors said.
FBI agents alleged that the couple used an attorney in Israel, among others, to launder more than $2 million.