The advantages in query “counteract the difficult work that longshore staff do on the docks each day, they usually are vitally vital to tens of 1000’s of individuals working at ports in California, Oregon and Washington,” ILWU Coast Committeeman Cam Williams said Monday. “The Officers of the ILWU take any fraudulent acts against the plan seriously and wish such abuse rooted out.”
Last week, federal prosecutors unveiled charges that over half 1,000,000 dollars was paid out by the union’s insurance plan following fraudulent claims submitted by 46-year-old Sara Victoria, the conspiracy’s alleged ringleader who operated three wellness and chiropractic clinics within the harbor area from 2017 to 2021.
Prosecutors say Victoria admitted in a plea agreement that she hired women from local strip clubs to work on the clinics where they offered sexual services. Prosecutors say Victoria knew dockworkers had insurance through the International Longshore and Warehouse Union–Pacific Maritime Association plan that generally had no deductible, copay or other out-of-pocket charges for chiropractic services, so she recruited them to submit fraudulent claims.
“In exchange for obtaining sexual services for themselves and their friends, ILWU-PMA plan members authorized Victoria to submit false claims for reimbursement for services not actually rendered, including chiropractic and physical therapy, using their names or the names of their members of the family, comparable to their spouses and youngsters,” prosecutors said in a press release.
As well as, prosecutors said Victoria also admitted in a plea agreement to paying ILWU-PMA plan members money kickbacks in exchange for authorization to submit false claims for reimbursement for services not actually rendered and using another person’s identity without the person’s consent through the commission of the health care fraud conspiracy.
ILWU Coast Committeeman Frank Ponce De Leon condemned any fraudulent use of the union’s medical health insurance plan, which he said has been generations within the making and covers 17,000 port staff.
“Our union is proud to have negotiated health advantages with our employer that we consider all Americans must have,” Ponce de Leon said. “We won’t tolerate fraudulent use of the advantages in our contract that longshore staff have fought for, and sometimes died for, over the past 90 years.”
Long Beach dockworkers used their medical health insurance to pay for ‘sexual services,’ feds say