Two San Jose Residents and a Miami Woman Indicted for Defrauding Blue Shield of California
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 19, 2014|
SAN JOSE—A federal grand jury indicted Skylar Ariel Phoenix a/k/a “Karin Marie West,” Lissa Michele Phoenix a/k/a “Lisa Beckwith,” and Dana Ann Wilkey yesterday with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aiding and abetting, and false statements to government agents, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and FBI Special Agent in Charge David Johnson.
According to the Indictment, Skylar Phoenix, 50, of San Jose, was employed by Blue Shield of Calif. as the manager in the marketing department from approximately June 2003 through September 2011. Lissa Phoenix, 51, of San Jose, is Skylar Phoenix’s registered domestic partner. Dana Wilkey, 41, of Miami, Fla., was the president of Adwil Agency, Inc. with its principle place of business in Beverly Hills, Calif. Adwil Agency served as a vendor for Blue Shield.
In the first scheme alleged in the Indictment, defendants Skylar Phoenix and Lissa Phoenix are alleged to have engaged in an illegal scheme to defraud Blue Shield by creating false employee records and time cards for work allegedly performed by Lissa Phoenix, when in truth no such work was performed. In order to perpetrate this scheme, these defendants presented Lissa Phoenix as “Lisa Beckwith, d/b/a Adwil Communication,” with an address corresponding to the home address of one of Lissa Phoenix’s close family members. Furthermore, the defendants made false “production invoices” from Adwil Communications, to the attention of Skylar Phoenix at Blue Shield, which purported to document and describe actual work being done by Adwil Communications for the benefit of Blue Shield and requesting payment to “L.M. Beckwith.” Skylar Phoenix, in her capacity as manager of the Blue Shield Marketing Department authorized the payment to “L.M. Beckwith,” when in fact no legitimate work was provided to Blue Shield by Lissa Phoenix as described on these invoices. Between September 2004 and March 2011, Skylar Phoenix approved payments to Lissa Phoenix under this scheme of nearly $500,000 for work which was never provided to Blue Shield.
In the second scheme alleged in the Indictment, Dana Wilkey, with the participation and assistance of Skylar Phoenix, entered into a fraudulent marketing contract between Blue Shield and Adwil Agency, Inc., which included the regular payment of undisclosed kickbacks from Wilkey to Skylar Phoenix, Lissa Phoenix, and Rodeo Pink, a shell corporation held by and for the benefit of Skylar Phoenix. Between in or about February 2006 through at least February 2012, Dana Wilkey, through Adwil Agency accounts, paid directly to Lissa Phoenix, Skylar Phoenix, and Rodeo Pink, approximately 87 checks totaling approximately $360,000 in illegal and undisclosed kickbacks related to Adwil Agency’s business with Blue Shield.
Skylar Phoenix and Lissa Phoenix are also charged with lying to the FBI about these described activities in September 2013.
Skylar Phoenix and Lissa Phoenix were arrested this morning at their home in San Jose and made their initial appearance in federal court in San Jose this afternoon. Dana Wilkey was arrested by the FBI in Miami, Fla. and made her initial appearance in federal court in Miami earlier in the day. All three defendants were released on bond set in the amount of $250,000 each. Skylar Phoenix and Lissa Phoenix are next scheduled appearance on June 24, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. for a further bond hearing before the Honorable Howard R. Lloyd, United States Magistrate Court Judge in San Jose.
An Indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted of the wire fraud and conspiracy counts, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each count, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater, plus restitution to the victim if appropriate, and supervised release of up to five years for each violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, and 18 U.S.C. 1343, Wire Fraud. In addition, Skylar Phoenix and Lissa Phoenix are also charged with making false statements to government agents. If convicted of those counts, each face a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment on each count, a fine of $250,000, and supervised release of up to three years for each violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, False Statement to a Government Agent. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Amie D. Rooney is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Tracey Andersen. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.