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Ring Leader in Tax Evasion, Insurance Fraud Case Sentenced

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John.Barrett@ftb.ca.gov

For Immediate Release

10.29.2010

Sacramento — The ring leader in a Workers Compensation Insurance fraud scheme that defrauded two insurance companies out of more than $1.4 million was sentenced to 12 years in state prison, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced.

Rene Montes, 42, of Riverside, pleaded guilty June 7, 2010, to 122 felony counts including 59 counts of grand theft, 59 counts of insurance fraud, three counts of state income tax evasion, and one felony count of conspiracy, with sentencing enhancements allegations for aggravated white collar crime for loss over $1.5 million and $500,000.

In addition to 12 years in state prison, Montes was ordered to pay over $1.7 million in restitution with more than $286,000 ordered for FTB for failing to file and report almost $1.5 million in income relating to the insurance fraud during the years 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Montes, doing business as W.C. Surgery Center, falsely represented to insurance companies he had authority to negotiate liens with them on behalf of medical providers. Information relating to the claims was obtained by Rene Montes through three contacts who worked at the insurance companies. The three co-defendants, Hector Porrata, 46, Moreno Valley, George Martinez, 44, Apple Valley, and Cara Cruz-Thompson, 47, Victorville, pleaded guilty May 7, 2010.

Porrata pleaded guilty to 50 felony counts of grand theft, 50 felony counts of insurance fraud, and 1 felony count of conspiracy. He was sentenced to eight years in state prison and ordered to pay over $1 million in restitution. Martinez pleaded guilty to 11 felony counts of grand theft, 11 felony counts of insurance fraud, and one felony count of conspiracy. He was sentenced to two years in state prison and ordered to pay over $300,000 in restitution. Cruz-Thompson pleaded guilty to 12 felony counts of grand theft, 12 felony counts of insurance fraud, and one felony count of conspiracy. She was sentenced to two years in state prison and ordered to pay over $200,000 in restitution.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Frank F. Fasel handed down the sentence today in Department C35 of the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana. Deputy District Attorney Thomas Schultz, of the White Collar Crime Team, prosecuted the case.

Editors Note: For more information see the Orange County District Attorney’s news release

For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit: taxes.ca.gov

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