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Former Mortgage Pool Servicer Indicted on Federal Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 19, 2012
DAVENPORT, IA—On November 19, 2012, Thomas Richard Jager, age 64, of Bettendorf, Iowa, made an initial appearance in federal court on an indictment charging 32 counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt. United States Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Shields set trial for January 7, 2013, and the case was assigned for trial to Chief United States District Judge James E. Gritzner.
The indictment alleges that starting on approximately January 1, 2008, and continuing to on or about July 31, 2010, Jager and his mortgage servicing company, Whitehall Funding Inc., then located in Davenport, Iowa, devised and participated in a scheme to defraud in connection with his certain mortgage pools serviced by Jager and Whitehall. The indictment further alleges that Jager drafted and faxed false remittance reports to investors in the mortgage pools and submitted false end of the year reports to mortgagors. The indictment also alleges that Jager improperly transferred funds received from mortgagors to Jager’s personal accounts and in one instance used mortgagor and investor funds to make a payment of $137,660.97 to pay off Jager’s own home equity loan. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of certain real and personal property.
The indictment is merely a charging instrument. Jager is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
If convicted, Jager faces a penalty on each wire fraud count of up to 30 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, or both fine and imprisonment; a period of supervised release of up to five years; a special assessment of $100; restitution to victims; and forfeiture of assets. If convicted on the money laundering count, Jager faces a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both fine and imprisonment; a period of supervised release of not more than three years; a special assessment of $100; restitution; and forfeiture.
This case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa and is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Owner Of Medical Clinics In Euless And Houston, Texas, Pleads Guilty To Role In Health Care Fraud Conspiracy That Involved Nearly $3 Million In Fraudulent Billings
DALLAS — The owner/operator of medical clinics located in Hurst and Houston, Texas, Ovsanna Agopian, 57, pleaded guilty today, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney in federal court in Dallas, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Her husband, Vagharshak Smbatyan, 60, who is charged in the same case with making a false statement to a government agency, entered a not guilty plea today in federal court in Dallas before Judge Stickney. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Agopian, aka “Joanna Ovsanna Agopian” and “Joanna Smbatyan,” faces a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, restitution could be ordered. A sentencing date was not set. Agopian currently resides in Houston, Texas; her husband, Smbatyan, resides in Grenada Hills, California. Both remain on bond.
According to documents filed in the case, Agopian was the operator of Euless Healthcare Corporation (EHC), located on West Bedford Euless Road in Hurst, Texas and Medic Healthcare Incorporated (Medic) located on Bonhomme Road in Houston. EHC operated from approximately March 2010 to May 2011, and Medic operated from approximately October 2009 to May 2011.
Agopian admitted that she conspired with co-defendants Tolulope Labeodan, Godwin Umotong, Leslie Omagbemi, Munda Massaquoi and Comfort Gates to submit, or cause to be submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare for diagnostic tests, falsely representing that the tests were performed and falsely representing that the tests were performed at either EHC or Medic.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since their inception in March 2007, strike force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,480 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
The investigation is being conducted by HHS – Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael McCarthy and Michael Elliott are in charge of the prosecution.
Dallas Businessman Sentenced To 120 Months In Federal Prison For His Role In Conspiracies To Steal Pension Plans And Commit Health Care Fraud
Defendant Also Ordered to Forfeit Approximately $9.3 Million
DALLAS — Robert Hague-Rogers, 76, of Frisco, Texas, was sentenced yesterday afternoon by U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay to 120 months in federal prison and ordered to forfeit $9,345,775, following his guilty plea in April 2012 to one count of conspiracy to commit theft or embezzlement from an employee benefit plan and one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. Hague-Rogers has been in custody since his pre-trial release was revoked by the Court on September 4, 2012. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
“This sentence should serve as an example of the consequences one will pay when people abuse the trust that has been placed in them and embezzle funds entrusted to their care,” said U.S. Attorney Saldaña.
“Theft of employee benefit plan assets jeopardizes the security of America’s workers. I hope that this sentencing sends a clear message to all who hold an office of trust, or operate or administer employee benefit plans, that the Department of Labor is committed to vigorously pursuing those who abuse their positions and use trust funds for personal gain,” said Mark Alder, Regional Director of EBSA’s Dallas Regional Office.
According to documents filed in the case, from January 2001 through April 2011, Hague-Rogers was the sole owner and operator of HR Financial Services and HR Sales and Marketing, located on Coit Road in Dallas; the primary business of both was the sale and marketing of insurance products.
In February 2011, a federal grand jury indicted Hague-Rogers based on his theft of funds from an ERISA-backed welfare benefit fund. As the trustee for the plan, the government alleged that Hague-Rogers directed money transfers and cash withdrawals from and between himself and the plan for his and his family s personal benefit, as well as directed the preparation of documents purportedly legitimizing the transfers of such funds.
A few months later, in April 2011, the government learned that while on pre-trial release, Hague-Rogers was operating a Ponzi scheme by making unauthorized loans against certain employer-sponsored health plans to repay investors holding promissory notes with interest as high as 15%. He would then move funds between the various plans and investors’ accounts, while paying himself and his family for personal expenses such as mortgages, life insurance policies and property taxes. On April 18, 2011, the government obtained an injunction preventing Hague-Rogers and his companies from the further commission of any crimes, barring him from the sale of insurance and related products and freezing all assets and property owned by Hague-Rogers or his family. Based on his post-indictment conduct, on July 19, 2011, a federal grand jury in Dallas returned a superseding indictment against Hague-Rogers, charging him with various counts of health care and wire fraud based on his theft from the various employer-sponsored health plans.
According to the factual resume filed in the case, Hague-Rogers admitted that he executed both conspiracies by creating numerous single employer trusts to provide individuals with whole life insurance, death benefits and other post-retirement medical benefits. Hague-Rogers and others, without the knowledge and/or consent of the trusts, caused fraudulent and unauthorized loans to be made against the whole-life policies. He and his immediate family used the funds for personal expenses including leases of luxury vehicles, house payments and taxes, and private life insurance policies.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean McKenna and Errin Martin were in charge of the prosecution.