Long Beach dock worker pleads guilty to billing health plan for prostitutes

A Long Beach dock worker pleaded guilty on Wednesday, Jan. 10, to a federal charge of allowing phony claims to be submitted to his labor union’s health plan for the use of prostitutes under the guise of chiropractic services.

Cameron Rahm, 39, of Pico Rivera entered his plea to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Sentencing was scheduled for April 25.

Rahm was among nine defendants, including seven dock workers at the Port of Long Beach, charged last year on allegations of allowing more than $2.1 million in fraudulent claims to be submitted to their union’s health insurance plan for sexual services or for physical therapy that never was provided.

Some of the false claims were filed using the names of dock workers’ family members, including spouses and children.

The scheme’s ringleader, Sara Victoria, 46, of San Pedro, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and aggravated identity theft and is also expected to be sentenced in April.

Victoria admitted in her plea agreement to owning three businesses from 2017 to 2021 that provided sexual services as well as chiropractic and acupuncture treatments.

Knowing that longshoremen and others involved in the shipping industry in Long Beach had health insurance under the International Longshore and Warehouse Union-Pacific Maritime Association benefit plan that generally covered all chiropractic services without a deductible, co-pay or out-of-pocket expenses, Victoria offered the dock workers cash kickbacks or sexual services in exchange for authorization to submit false claims for services not actually rendered, federal prosecutors said.

Victoria hired prostitutes at her companies, recruiting them via referrals and from strip clubs in the Long Beach area, according to prosecutors.

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Rahm was one of the customers of Victoria’s businesses and agreed to have her submit to the ILWU-PMA plan fraudulent claims, sometimes under his wife’s name, for prostitution services, according to his plea agreement filed in Los Angeles federal court.

From January 2017 to April 2021, Victoria submitted about $178,495 in fraudulent claims to the ILWU-PMA plan for services sometimes supposedly rendered to Rahm’s wife, who is also covered but did not know of the billing, for which the plan paid about $30,243, Rahm admitted.

All nine defendants have filed plea agreements in the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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