Federal Grand Jury in El Paso Charges Former Army Physician, Former El Paso Physician, Two Other Individuals, and Two Businesses in Connection with an Estimated $7.3 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 06, 2014|
In El Paso, a federal grand jury has returned a 65-count indictment charging four individuals and two companies in connection with an estimated $7.3 million health care-related fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman; Janice M. Flores, Special Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s Southwest Field Office, Arlington, Texas; Special Agent in Charge Scott Wilk of the Southwest Fraud Field Office of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command Major Procurement Fraud Unit, Arlington, Texas; and FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division.
Those charged in the indictment, which was returned yesterday afternoon, include 44-year-old former William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) physician Richard Craig Rooney of Medina, Washington; his 46-year-old wife and former El Paso Otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) physician and cosmetic surgeon Angie Unchi Song; 44-year-old Julia Lynn Eller, president and chief executive officer of Allure Spine LLC (Allure) in Charlotte, North Carolina; 71-year-old Charlie Takhyun Song of Grapeview, Washington, father of Angie Unchi Song and independent sales representative; Spondylos Consulting LLC (Spondylos), a company owned by Angie Unchi Song; and Allure Spine LLC, a company owned by Julia Eller.
Rooney, Angie Song, Eller, Charlie Song, Spondylos, and Allure are all charged with one count of conspiracy to commit illegal remuneration in regard to Federal Health Care programs; two counts of aiding and abetting illegal remuneration in regard to federal health care programs; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Rooney, Angie Song, Eller, and the two companies are charged in 39 substantive counts of wire fraud. Also, Rooney, Eller, and Allure are charged with 17 substantive money laundering counts; and Angie Song, Charlie Song, and Spondylos with one substantive money laundering count. In addition, the indictment also charges Rooney and Eller with two counts each of making material false statements to federal authorities.
The indictment alleges that between September 2002 and August 2010, the defendants participated in an illegal scheme whereby Eller funneled money and other things of value, including firearms, to Rooney, Angie Song, and Charlie Song so that Rooney would request the use of Allure Spine surgical implant devices and other medical-related equipment in surgeries he performed at WBAMC and at Darnall Army Medical Center (DAMC) at Ft. Hood, Texas.
The indictment also includes a notice of criminal forfeiture wherein the government is seeking proceeds derived from the fraudulent scheme, as well as funds totaling more than $4.25 million seized from financial institutions and two residential real estate properties located in the state of Washington.
“Today’s indictment demonstrates that the FBI and our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office; U.S. Department of Defense, Criminal Investigative Service; U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command, Major Procurement Fraud Unit; and the U.S. Postal Inspector Service are committed to thoroughly investigate health care fraud in our community, including Ft. Bliss, whenever health care professionals engage in activity to defraud our health care system for the sole purpose of self-enrichment,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist.
Upon conviction: conspiracy to commit illegal remuneration carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison; aiding and abetting illegal remuneration in regard to federal health care programs carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison; conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering carry a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison; conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud carry penalties up to 20 years in federal prison; and false statement to federal authorities carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison.
This indictment resulted from an investigation conducted by agents with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS); agents of the Criminal Investigation Command Major Procurement Fraud Unit of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command; and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Assistant United States Attorneys Debra Kanof and Anna Arreola are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.