Los Angeles-Area Chiropractor Sentenced in $4.8M ILWU Benefit Scam

Anyone doubting that health care providers enable union benefit fraud probably hasn’t looked at Southern California lately. Mahyar David Yadidi, a Los Angeles-area chiropractor, was sentenced yesterday in federal court to 46 months in prison for submitting about $4.8 million in fraudulent reimbursements to an International Longshore and Warehouse Union health plan, and ordered to pay nearly $2 million in restitution. Yadidi had pleaded guilty last November after being charged in September. Two clinic employees, Ivan Semerdjiev and Julian Williams, had received prison sentences, respectively, of one year and six months. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration, part of a larger investigation into Medicare and Medicaid fraud.  

Mahyar David Hadidi, now 38, a resident of West Los Angeles, operated a chiropractic clinic in nearby San Pedro called Synergy Healthcare and Wellness Center. Unfortunately, … Read More ➡

Pharmacy Owner Serving ILWU Members Sentenced in Compounding Scheme

Erica Carey ran a pharmacy that served members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Their health may be poorer for it. On October 30, 2019, Carey, owner of a Long Beach, Calif. pharmacy, was sentenced in Los Angeles federal court to three years of probation and ordered to pay more than $366,000 in restitution for defrauding the ILWU-Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) health plan. The main organizers of this $3 million-plus scam, brothers Berry and Dalibor Kabov, each had been sentenced that March to 121 months in prison for illegal sale of opioids and importation of controlled steroids, and failure to report about $1.5 million to the IRS. The actions follow a probe by the Drug Enforcement Agency, the IRS, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Labor Department, and state and local authorities.

According to prosecutors, the Kabov brothers, both residents of the Brentwood section of Los Angeles, … Read More ➡

Four Indicted in Southern California Pain Clinic Scam; ILWU Plan Loses $3M

The ingenuity underlying health care fraud in America is almost boundless. A recent bust of a scam in Southern California is a prime example. In the first week of February, federal agents arrested four persons for fleecing two benefit plans out of a combined $22 million of which $3 million came from an affiliate of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). The defendants – James Nate Bell, Regina Piehl, Michael Edwards and Sara Samhat – had been indicted on January 29 by a Santa Ana federal grand jury for collecting insurance reimbursements based on unnecessary compound cream prescriptions. The actions follow an ongoing probe by the FBI, the IRS, the Defense Department, and the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

The last decade has been rife with health plan fraud. In the Chicago area, for example, Dr. Richard Kolbusz received $2.6 million in phony … Read More ➡

Hawaii ILWU Official Sentenced for Tax Evasion, Identity Theft

If government benefits were available, Nathan Lum made sure that he was going to receive some of them, legally or not. But the only thing that he’s received now is a sentence. On January 29, Lum, former Longshore Division director of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii to 30 months in prison for tax fraud and identity theft totaling more than $300,000 over several years. The identity theft involved his cashing of Social Security checks owed to his deceased father. Lum had pleaded guilty last March after an initial indictment in July 2018 and another one that September. He also will have to pay full restitution, plus a $125 special assessment. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Nathan Y.G. Lum, now 62, a resident of Honolulu, … Read More ➡

Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

Perhaps more than usual, corruption stories in 2019 involved the overlapping worlds of unions and politics. In Chicago, former Teamster boss John T. Coli Sr., whose ability to cut deals with City Hall and the Illinois legislature for years went virtually unchallenged, pleaded guilty in July to shaking down a television studio owner. One of his allies, State Senator Tom Cullerton, was hit with multiple embezzlement charges. In Boston, two city officials were convicted of putting the squeeze on a concert promoter on behalf of a Theatrical Employees local. In Philadelphia, an Electrical Workers business manager and seven other persons, including a city councilman, were indicted in January for embezzlement, wire fraud and bribery; a contractor and a fundraiser subsequently pleaded guilty.

The overlap of union and government interests was especially marked in the public sector. Unions, still smarting from the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling in 2018, … Read More ➡

Former ILWU Official in Hawaii Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft, Tax Fraud

It wasn’t exactly the classiest behavior. On March 28, Nathan Lum, former director of the Longshore Division of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii to one count each of aggravated identity theft and income tax evasion. The offenses, unrelated to operations of the Honolulu-based union, had a lot to do with his misuse of his late father’s stream of income. The guilty plea follows a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Sentencing is scheduled for July.

Court records show that Lum, now 61, a powerful, well-paid boss of the more than 1,000-member Longshore Division of ILWU Local 142 (the entire local has around 18,000 members), cashed Social Security checks made out to his father, who died in June 2013, and diverted the money to his own use. In … Read More ➡

ILWU, Dockworkers in Oregon Sued for Roles in Time Card Scam

There are few workplaces in this country that can match the shipping terminal when it comes to wage and hour fraud – especially if the dockworkers are unionized. Back in December, Columbia Export Terminal in Portland, Oregon filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and more than 150 of its members, accusing them of participating in a conspiracy to inflate their on-the-clock time in a variety of ways. The schemes allegedly cost the terminal over $5 million. The union, the suit reads, “organized and orchestrated the scheme to submit falsified time sheets.” A court spokesperson told National Legal and Policy Center yesterday afternoon that the case remains active, though a pretrial hearing has yet to be scheduled.

The longshore industry long has been plagued by union-abetted time sheet fraud. About a dozen years ago, Union Corruption Update extensively Read More ➡

ILWU Secretary-Treasurer in Hawaii Indicted

On April 11, Charles Kimo Brown, former secretary-treasurer of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 142, Hawaii Longshore Division, was indicted in Honolulu federal court on two counts each of embezzlement totaling $1,575 from the union and concealment of the thefts in union financial records. According to prosecutors, Brown, now 60, a resident of Mililani, during December 2009-April 2014 received “lost time” reimbursements from the local when in fact these were hours during which worked for his regular employer. The union represents about 1,000 Hawaii dockworkers. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Ex-Bookkeeper for Los Angeles Local Arrested for Thefts

ilwu-logoFor a union office employee, Rosa Della Porta seemed to live beyond her means. The new BMW she drove to work raised her boss’ suspicions, especially as funds seemed to be disappearing. Those suspicions eventually were borne out. Della Porta, former bookkeeper for Local 26 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in Los Angeles, was arrested this month for embezzlement of $108,000 in local funds and indicted on August 8 in federal court. “After receiving cash from various sources, Della Porta allegedly deposited less cash than the union received and pocketed the difference,” noted the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The local began an internal audit after it noticed discrepancies in its books. Local 26 President Luisa Gratz, suspecting Della Porta had been dipping into the till, then notified the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, which in turn conducted a full investigation. The DOL determined that Della Read More ➡