Six Busted for Allegedly Stealing $1.5M from LA County

October 4, 2010

Six individuals have been arrested for allegedly conducting an $1.5 million scheme to rip off Los Angeles County taxpayers, the California Department of Insurance announced. Two brothers allegedly abused their employment and referred workers’ comp claims handling to family members’ businesses, the DOI said. The family members owning the businesses allegedly overcharged the county for services and pocketed the excess. Five individuals were booked into the Orange County Jail, and one was booked into the Los Angeles County Jail. Bail was set at $1.5 million for each suspect. If convicted, each faces between eight to nine years in state prison.

The Department of Insurance, in collaboration with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the California Highway Patrol and the California Franchise Tax Board, launched an investigation that revealed the six individuals’ alleged crimes.

The following suspects were arrested: Christian Uriel Ramirez Ochoa (aka Jose Raul Lujano Arteaga) of Irvine; Hugo Emanuel Ramirez Ochoa (aka Victor Hugo Ramirez) of Mission Viejo; Sandra Orozco (aka Sandra Daniela Orozco Aguilar) of Irvine; Dominique Yvette Boudreaux of Mission Viejo; Maria Nelida Ochoa Moreno of Santa Ana; and Javier Ramirez Contreras (aka Hector Camacho) of Santa Ana.

According to investigators, Christian Uriel Ramirez Ochoa and his brother, Hugo Emanuel Ramirez Ochoa, worked at Tristar Insurance Group, a third-party administrator for the County of Los Angeles. They were employed as claims adjusters and were responsible for administering Workers’ compensation claims for Los Angeles County employees injured on the job.

The brothers purportedly referred transportation and investigative business to three transportation companies: Transco Transportation Inc., Universal Transportation Services, and Paramount Transportation Services, and to one private investigative firm, OnCall Investigation Services. Those companies then allegedly subcontracted the transportation services to other vendors. The vendors that performed the services charged a fee of $200 to $300. Transco, Paramount or Universal would allegedly submit invoices to the county for $750 and pocket the difference.

Their father, also a Tristar Insurance Group employee, processed the fraudulent billings from Paramount Transportation Services Inc., Universal Transportation Services, Transco Transportation Inc. and OnCall Investigation Services. The four companies are owned by his family members. The referral of business to family members and to their personally-owned business is a direct violation of the California Labor Code.

This investigation further revealed that all three men allegedly used the identities, including driver licenses and social security numbers, of other individuals in order to obtain employment with Tristar. The transportation and investigative referrals were unwarranted and/or the services were never rendered. This family allegedly exploited the county of the Los Angeles and its taxpayers with their elaborate fraudulent scheme, which lead to estimated loss of $1.5 million by the county of Los Angeles.

The following is a breakdown of the payments for each company: Universal Transportation Services, Inc. received $56,676; Paramount Transportation Services received $321,200; Transco Transportation Services received $187,283; and OnCall Investigation Services received $938,554.

Javier Contreras and his sons, Christian and Hugo Ochoa are no longer employed by Tristar.

Source: CDI

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.