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The Mystery was Solved and Justice Prevailed
The crooks name was Marcus Fontaine. Investigators who’ve been around for awhile might remember the case as one of the largest initial Medi-Cal frauds in the state of California.
Fontaine, a Culver City businessman, set up a series of fake medical supply companies in the late 1980s. By submitting fake billings for medical equipment and supplies, Fontaine was able to squeeze a tody $13 million from the system. When authorities finally caught up to Fontaine, he’d spent some of the money and was not cooperating in divulging where any more of it might be stashed.
FBI investigators dug their heels in and kept on searching because it was believed that the remaining money was being kept in foreign bank accounts and Fontaine planned to reclaim it after he served his ten year prison sentence.
One item seized at the time of Fontaine’s arrest was a portable computer, but all of its information was protected by a password. Agents tried everything, but nothing held the key to the locked up secrets. But then one of the agents, a dog lover, decided to try the names of all of Fontaine’s pets. The computer opened up when Fontaine’s sister’s dog’s name was entered as the password. Success.
Buried in the computer was a reference to the Kedge Foundation in Lichtenstein, a small nation nestled between Austria and Switzerland and a European haven for Americans trying to hide money from the IRS or other concerns. Using an American bank as a go-between, agents learned that the Kedge Foundation had a single beneficiary.
None other than Marcus Fontaine.
But then the real battle started. Even though Fontaine agreed to sign a letter authorizing the Kedge Foundation Trustees to release the money to the feds on behalf of Medi-Cal, the trustees believed Fontaine had signed that letter under duress and would not release the money. And so the government sued.
Motion after motion was filed by a hired Lichtenstein attorney and the attorney representing the Foundation. Appeal after appeal was filed by both sides. And year after year passed. At one point an offer was made to split up the money, keeping a portion for Fontaine’s lawyers. But the Americans said no and the fight went on.
Then, finally, more success. A staggering $9.4 million, the entire assets of the Kedge Foundation, was going to be released by the trustees. And all this resulted from the “dogged” efforts to keep entering possible passwords until a “dog” name paid off.
The Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse is enjoying some enviable success. Fraud convictions have increased by 238 percent in the last year and pending investigations have increased by 88 percent. DOG GONE excellent work, guys!
In the past several years, an estimated $1 BILLION has been taken from the Medi-Cal system.
© 2000 John Cooke Fraud Report