Downey woman charged in health fraud case

DOWNEY - A Downey woman was one of six people arrested last week in connection with an East Los Angeles health clinic that allegedly employed unlicensed doctors and pharmacists that "prey[ed] on vulnerable individuals during their most desperate hour," authorities announced Monday.Leticia Isabel Pena, of Downey, and Dr. Shura Alexis Moreno, of Alta Loma, were charged with multiple counts of grand theft and fraud, and practicing or aiding and abetting the practice of medicine without certification. The investigation began in April 2010 following leads of illegal drug sales and unsupervised medical staff working at the Dr. Shura Moreno Medical Clinic at 4146 E. Olympic Blvd. in East Los Angeles. During the investigation, officials with the Los Angeles County Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT) went undercover and purchased illicit pharmaceuticals from the clinic, officials said. Subsequent search warrants and a review of claims data revealed evidence of Medi-Cal and Medicare fraud, authorities said. Officials also allege that the clinic was a front, using the name of Moreno, who was rarely at the clinic, and where medical services were performed by an unsupervised physician assistant or other unlicensed practitioners. Besides Moreno and Pena, also arrested were Rosa Isela Gonzalez, of Fontana; Sylvia Gonzalez and Humberto Pena, of East Los Angeles; and Guadalupe Gonzalez, of South Gate. Two other suspects have also been charged but have not been arrested yet.

********** Published: March 10, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 47