Saturday, September 12, 2009

CSI Las Vegas?

"The accident, on June 12, 2002, might have been forgotten. But [Cynthia] Johnson woke up the next day with back pain. ... Meanwhile, her lawyer, [Robert] Vannah, filed suit against the driver who hit Johnson, asking for a minimum of $200,000 in damages. Unbeknownst to Vannah, the driver was a federal prosecutor who had been in his car on government business. ... But it would come to mean everything to her lawyer: Instead of facing a local defense attorney, Vannah was squaring off against Ruth Cohen, a seasoned lawyer in the US attorney's civil division. ... The scheme began in 1999 and lasted for at least six years, prosecutors charge. Business and court records and local press reports suggest that the group--which numbered about 30--colluded in hundreds of suits that yielded hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements. According to government evidence, the group coordinated their testimony as expert witnesses, lied under oath, protected one another from malpractice lawsuits--even after the surgeries left a few patients paralyzed--and ate away at the plaintiffs; settlement money with kickbacks disguised as contingency fees. ... After five years of FBI investigation, three indictments, a highly publicized trial, and testimony from two complicit surgeons given immunity, no one has been found guilty. ... Vannah and others claim the real collusion in the case is between the prosecutors and the insurers. ... The medical mafia distributed millions of dollars to its members, prosecutors have charged. ... At trial, [Noel] Gage's lawyers skewered the prosecution, arguing that the case boiled down to an accusation that Gage had netted his client only $1.3 million. ... The local press corps shredded the two doctors. ... Calling government investigators 'despicable, dishonest human beings,' [Gage] says they have not proved 'one scintilla of criminality.' ... Ruth Cohen, who has left the US attorney's office and is now in private practice, wonders whether prosecutors arrived 'too late' to change anything", original italics, my emphasis, Katherine Eban at Fortune, 31 August 2009.

About 15 years ago Fortune wrote about the Ventura County, California DAs office being taken over by insurance companies which had it spend a lot of time investigating insurance frauds to the exclusion of other crimes. What else is new? $1.3 million, only 19% of my Blankfein test. Forget this DOJ. Hundreds of millions. Hmm, didn't our Goldman Sachs (GSG) friends get $12.9 billion from AIG? Cmon, Nevada US attorney. You can find some overt act GSG commited in your district to take jurisdiction. Look hard. Coordinated their testimony and such. Are these guys Feds? Collusion between insurers and the Feds? How dare you? Justice is blind. Conspiracy cases involving accidents do occur, like US v. Perez, 489 F2d 51 (5th Cir., 1973). This does not look like Perez. Millions of dollars? Big deal. Kickbacks? Look at Ashcroft's deal, my 17 January 2008 post:

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