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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) — A former computer shop owner who bilked several customers is paying the price for theft by deception and taking advantage of the elderly. Several Six on Your Side Investigations exposed the crime.
Computer service tech Larry Skarnulis, 49, is headed to prison after grossly overcharging five elderly customers.
Ninety-year-old Delores Wittmus is owed $3,000 and never got back a computer and modem Skarnulis took from her home. She said, “He had no feeling for anybody, I mean his need for money must have been a lot more important than people.”
Loyal customers trusted the former owner of Computer Habit who admitted to a horse betting habit during sentencing in Sarpy County District Court. The judge ordered two years prison for Skarnulis and $33,700 in restitution to the customers in payments of $600 a month when he’s out and on probation.
Deputy Sarpy County Attorney Phil Kleine said, “If he doesn’t pay it we’ll ask that his probation be violated and he be sentenced to a term of prison of 20 years.”
Skarnulis was given credit for jail time already served and with good time the prosecutor estimates he could be out of prison by next summer.
A Northbrook chiropractor was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison Tuesday for billing an insurance carrier for medically unnecessary or nonexistent services, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Steven Paul, 46, of Northbrook, previously pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. Judge Ronald A. Guzman cited Paul’s “extraordinary cooperation” during the investigation as he imposted the lowest possible prison sentence for the charge, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.
Paul and co-defendant Bradley Mattson, a chiropractor, stated in plea agreements that they required patients to receive an initial x-ray and a pre-set schedule of clinic visits for a period of six months “without regard to the medical necessity of the visits,” according to the release.
Paul stated that from 1999 to 2008 he directed $3.65 million in bills to Blue Cross Blue Shield for medically unnecessary tests or physical therapy services that were not provided, and his clinics received $1.33 million in fraudulent reimbursements from the insurance company, prosecutors said.
Paul and Mattson owned six chiropractic clinics in the north suburbs including Hawthorn Physical Medicine, Woodfield Physical Medicine, Stratford Physical Medicine, Algonquin Physical Medicine, Northshore Physical Medicine and Cumberland Physical Medicine, according to the news release.
An undercover FBI agent visited the Hawthorn clinic for treatment for a back strain, and Mattson diagnosed the agent with a pinched nerve and ordered a pre-set treatment plan that began with daily visits for two weeks, according to the report.
Mattson made the diagnosis despite an opinion from the clinic’s medical doctor and physical therapist that the agent had a pulled muscle and not a pinched nerve, it said.
Mattson, of Lake Forest, pleaded guilty to health care fraud and was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in 2012, according to the release.
A Parkville man was sentenced Wednesday to federal prison after pleading guilty to computer hacking and child pornography charges.
Jacob Raines, 38, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Kansas City to six years in prison.
Raines pleaded guilty in May to charges of computer intrusion and using a computer to view child pornography over the internet.
The computer intrusion charge involved Raines using a remote server to copy proprietary source code files and file folders from his former employer.
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When serving a search warrant in that case, investigators found thousands of sexually explicit images and videos of children, including toddlers and infants.
His attorney on Wednesday argued for a sentence of four years in prison, while prosecutors asked for seven years.
MIAMI – A Florida doctor has been ordered to serve four years in prison and pay $2.1 million in restitution for his part in a multimillion-dollar health care fraud and money laundering scheme.
Joaquin Mendez previously had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health fraud. Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Benjamin G. Greenberg announced the latest plea on Thursday.
Prosecutors say three co-defendants in the case established sober homes, where people go for addiction treatment, and provided kickbacks and bribes to people with insurance who agreed to live in the homes. Their insurance was billed and members of the scheme prospered.
Records show the 52-year-old Mendez was hired to evaluate patients and prescribe treatment. Prosecutors say Mendez knew fraudulent insurance claims were being filed.
CHICAGO – A suburban Chicago man snared in a 2013 internet sting is being sentenced for seeking to join an al-Qaida-linked group fighting Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.
Federal prosecutors and defense lawyers are requesting different prison terms for Abdella Ahmad Tounisi (too-NEE’-see) at Thursday’s hearing in Chicago. Prosecutors want the maximum 15 years for attempting to provide material support to terrorists. The defense wants seven.
The American-born Tounisi was 18 when agents arrested him after he left his Aurora, Illinois, home and went to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in April 2013. He was bound for Turkey, then Syria to join Jabhat al-Nusrah.
He had visited a sham extremist website created by the FBI weeks earlier. It invited visitors to join their “lion brothers” under “the true banner of Islam.”
Tounisi pleaded guilty in 2015.