24 May 2019
A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a former Las Vegas medical billing company operator who prosecutors called the ringleader of a $1.5 billion Ponzi scheme that bilked thousands of Japanese residents to 50 years in prison.
Edwin Fujinaga, 72, the former chief executive of MRI International Inc, was sentenced by Chief Judge Gloria Navarro of the Nevada federal court, following his conviction last November on 20 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
Fujinaga was also ordered to forfeit $813.3 million and make $1.13 billion of restitution, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. His trial lasted four weeks.
Prosecutors had sought the 50-year term, while federal public defenders representing Fujinaga said five years were enough, citing his age and health. The public defenders did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to prosecutors, Fujinaga and his associates promised investors they would buy unpaid patient bills from medical companies at a discount and recoup the full value later from insurers.
By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters, 23 May 2019
Read more at Reuters
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