Long Beach dockworkers used their health insurance to pay for ‘sexual services,’ feds say

Federal prosecutors today filed criminal charges against nine people, including seven Long Beach dockworkers who are accused of conspiring to use millions of dollars from their union’s health insurance plan to pay for sexual services disguised as physical therapy or chiropractic care.

Prosecutors say the ringleader of the conspiracy was a 46-year-old San Pedro woman named Sara Victoria.

From January 2017 to August 2021, they say, Victoria owned and operated Back to Life Wellness Center LLC and The Chiroman Wellness Center in San Pedro and the Wilmington-based Waterfront Wellness Center Inc. In a plea agreement, Victoria admitted to offering patients at these businesses chiropractic services, acupuncture treatments, and also sexual services.

“Victoria hired women to provide sexual services to dock workers at her companies and recruited them through referrals and from strip clubs in the Long Beach area,” the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a statement.

Prosecutors say Victoria knew dockworkers had insurance through the International Longshore and Warehouse Union–Pacific Maritime Association plan that generally had no deductible, copay or other out-of-pocket charges for chiropractic services, so she recruited them to submit fraudulent claims

“In exchange for obtaining sexual services for themselves and their friends, ILWU-PMA plan members authorized Victoria to submit false claims for reimbursement for services not actually rendered, including chiropractic and physical therapy, using their names or the names of their family members, such as their spouses and children,” prosecutors said in a statement.

Prosecutors say Victoria also admitted in a plea agreement to paying ILWU-PMA plan members cash kickbacks in exchange for authorization to submit false claims for reimbursement for services not actually rendered and using someone else’s identity without the person’s consent during the commission of the health care fraud conspiracy.

In total, she submitted approximately $2,110,920 in claims to the ILWU-PMA plan, for which the plan paid approximately $551,810, authorities said.

Today in court, plea agreements were filed in connection with all nine defendants, including Victoria who is facing a statutory maximum sentence of 12 years in federal prison for her role, according to authorities. She was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

One of the Long Beach longshoremen, 39-year-old Cameron Rahm is also charged with lying to FBI agents in addition to participating in the fraud scheme, prosecutors say.

Rahm, who allegedly lied to FBI agents investigating the case and denied allowing anyone to bill his health insurer for sexual service, is facing 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges, which include one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, two counts of health care fraud, and one count of making false statements to federal investigators.

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Fernando Haro is the Long Beach Post's breaking news and public safety reporter.
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