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Rent-A Body Scam Busted

Three American doctors have been arrested by the California Department of Insurance and the Orange County District Attorney's Office for medical fraud.

These three are being accused of performing unnecessary surgical procedures and fraudulently billing more than $30 million to insurance companies.

Likened to "body snatchers" by Orange County's top prosecutor, the doctors were arrested Wednesday for their alleged roles in an elaborate insurance fraud scheme in which hundreds of patients across the U.S. were recruited to undergo unnecessary procedures in exchange for money or low-cost cosmetic surgeries.

The arrests bring to 17 the number of people named in the "rent-a-patient" scam allegedly operated out of Unity Outpatient Surgery Center in Buena Park.

Deputy District Attorney Rick Welsh of the Economic Crimes Unit is carrying out the prosecution.

The accused are Dr. Michael Cheeluen Chan, an obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. William Wilson Hampton Jr., a general surgeon and Dr. Mario Z. Rosenberg, a gastroenterologist. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 49 years and four months. Bail is set at $1.8 million for Chan, $1 million for Hampton, and $2.3 million for Rosenberg.

Chan was the owner and Medical Director of Unity Outpatient Surgery Center in Buena Park, Calif. In practice, he contracted almost complete control of Unity to non-licensed administrators in exchange for 2 percent of the center's fraudulent profits, and obtained the right to perform all gynecological procedures at Unity.

Accordingly, the doctors participated in a $96 million billing scheme that recruited 2,000 healthy people from all over the country to receive unnecessary surgeries in exchange for money or low cost cosmetic surgery. The recruitment of patients, or "capping," is illegal in California. Insurance companies paid more than $17 million during a 10-month period.

The cappers, or recruiters, ta
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