San Francisco Chronicle
Bay Area psychiatrist indicted in disability fraud scheme
By Megan Cassidy
February 6, 2019
Dr. Bay Area psychiatrist indicted in disability fraud scheme, 78, a Fremont psychiatrist, and Linda Nguyen, 66, were each charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and substantive mail fraud, according to a Jan. 29 indictment that was unsealed Monday. If convicted, each could face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 fines for each count.
Investigators say Nguyen would charge people to help process fraudulent applications for state insurance benefit, and David would then provide these applicants with supporting certifications to qualify for the claims.
The charges are the culmination of an investigation by the FBI and Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Public court records do not state when prosecutors believe the scam originated or how many applicants received misbegotten benefits. But the activity continued until at least last summer, officials said.
The State Disability Insurance program provides partial wage replacement to California employees unable to work due to a non-work related illness, injury or pregnancy. Workers in the state contribute to the fund through payroll deductions.
Applicants seeking benefits must file a claim either online or through a paper claim form, as well as submit a physician or practitioner’s certification that attests to the worker’s disability.
David and a federal public defender did not return messages seeking comment. Attempts to reach Nguyen were unsuccessful.
David and Nguyen were arrested Monday and made their initial court appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu at the U.S. District Court in Oakland. Both were released on bond and are scheduled for court appearances in the coming days.
Court documents did not specify Nguyen’s job title or the nature of her relationship with David.