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4 Arrested in Alleged Multi-Million Business Fraud Scheme

4 Arrested in Alleged Multi-Million Business Fraud Scheme

File photo of handcuff on April 12, 2021. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

7/19/2023

Updated: 7/19/2023

LOS ANGELES—The owner of a now-shuttered Orange County healthcare business management services company and three others were arrested July 19 on a nine-count federal indictment alleging they defrauded lenders and investors out of millions of dollars via false claims that the owner’s struggling business was booming.
Tammy Le, 48, of San Clemente, the former owner and CEO of CareAccess MSO Inc., a Cerritos-based company that purported to help primary care physician groups manage their business affairs, was arrested without incident, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Also arrested were: Macy Zia, 50, of Fullerton, a former senior accounting manager at CareAccess; Galen Clark, 31, of Simi Valley, a former CareAccess information technology manager; and Chris Ruiz, 52, of Pasadena, the owner of Auxilium Health Network, an Arcadia-based independent physician association.
All four defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Ms. Le, Ms. Zia, and Mr. Ruiz are charged with six counts of wire fraud. Ms. Le also is charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of money laundering.
Mr. Clark, who allegedly joined the conspiracy in November 2020, is charged with three counts of wire fraud.
Ms. Le and Ms. Zia were expected to make their initial appearances Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Santa Ana. Mr. Clark and Mr. Ruiz were scheduled to make their initial court appearances Wednesday afternoon in federal court in downtown Los Angeles.
According to an indictment returned on July 18, from January 2020 to July 2021, the defendants conspired to fraudulently obtain money from their victims by falsely representing the scope of CareAccess’ business and its anticipated revenue. One company was duped into loaning money to CareAccess while the other company was deceived into acquiring Ms. Le’s company, officials said.
Neither victim knew the weak state of CareAccess, the indictment alleges.
Ms. Le allegedly caused CareAccess to contract with a New Jersey-based finance company that would make loans to CareAccess in exchange for rights to collect against her company’s accounts receivable, including fees due from Auxilium and other IPAs.
The defendants allegedly induced the lender by making false statements regarding the business performance of CareAccess, including sending fake copies of invoices the company purportedly issued to IPAs.
The invoices were accompanied by spreadsheets containing the number of patients purportedly enrolled with the IPAs. The fraudulent invoices and spreadsheets inflated the amount of fees due to CareAccess and the amount of money the lender would loan to it, federal prosecutors said.
To impede the lender’s ability to detect the fraud, Ms. Le allegedly arranged for Mr. Ruiz to be the point of contact at Auxilium, and—when contacted by the lender’s representatives—he verified the false information contained in the invoices and spreadsheets, according to court papers.
Ms. Le, Ms. Zia, and Mr. Ruiz allegedly caused this lender to wire about $6.1 million in loans into a bank account controlled by Ms. Le.
Also, starting in November 2020, the defendants, now including Mr. Clark, allegedly solicited a Utah-based healthcare investment company to invest in and eventually acquire CareAccess. The defendants allegedly provided this investor with fraudulent reports that inflated its business performance and the size of its customer base.
Through these misrepresentations the defendants allegedly caused the investor to provide about $12.7 million for the acquisition of CareAccess, of which Ms. Le allegedly directed $2.2 million to be deposited in her bank account. A substantial portion of the latter amount was to be used by the defendants for their personal benefit, prosecutors said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that within months of the acquisition, CareAccess filed for bankruptcy protection.
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