Los Angeles Doctor Acquitted on Charges of Conspiracy and Falsification of Records Relating to 2003 Liver Transplant

According to the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Richard R. Lopez, Jr., head of the liver transplant program at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, was acquitted by a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Friday, on charges conspiracy, concealment of material fact and falsification of records. The charges related to a liver transplant in 2003. Dr. Lopez acknowledged that he was involved in a decision to give a liver intended for a patient to another patient more than 50 places down the transplant waiting list, which constituted a violation of transplant rules. The government charged Dr. Lopez with orchestrating a cover up of the violation. The liver was intended for a patient residing in Saudi Arabia, and was given to another patient residing in Saudi Arabia. Under the transplant rules, the organ should have been given to the next person on the list--a patient at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center.

Image source: www.ehow.com/about_5673429_private-grants-liver_transplant-patients.html

St. Vincent initially reported the actual recipient of the liver to the United Network for Organ Sharing, a private, non-group contracted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which oversees transplantation nationwide. Later the same day, the hospital's staff retracted the notification and incorrectly reported that the liver had gone to the individual which it had been offered to. The government alleged that St. Vincent continued to file false documents concerning the liver. The defense argued that Dr. Lopez had no knowledge of the falsification of the documents, and that Dr. Lopez was being made “a scapegoat for everything that was wrong at St. Vincent’s.”

St. Vincent has subsequently shut down its liver transplant program.


For serious criminal matters, contact the offices of Gillen Withers & Lake LLC in Savannah or Atlanta.

Georgia, Atlanta, Identity Theft Hot Spots

The Federal Trade Commission has ranked Georgia 4th among the States and Atlanta 19th among cities for identity theft crimes, as reported in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The rankings are based on complaints received by the FTC in 2010.

Significant among Georgia's numbers are 2,882 complaints of government benefits or documents fraud; 911 complaints of bank fraud and 328 complaints of loan fraud.

Atlanta moved up substantially from its 2010 of 123 among major metro areas.

Beazer Homes Executive and Alpharetta Resident Michael Rand Indicted in NC for Fraud

As reported in the Charlotte Observer, Michael Rand, former Chief Accounting Officer for Beazer Homes USA and a resident of Alpharetta, Georgia, has been indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina on 11 counts, including securities fraud, witness tampering and making false statements. Rand is alleged to have directed a conspiracy to manipulate Beazer's books, achieve earnings targets, and deceive the company's auditors.

Specifically, the indictment alleges that, from 2005 to 2007, Rand entered into an agreement with another company to allow Beazer to get revenue from purported sales of model homes, and that he and others created a false set of books to understate income when business was doing well, and "smoothing" income when business became tighter. Beazer terminated Rand in June of 2007 for allegedly destroying documents during an internal investigation.

Federal authorities began investigating Beazer in 2007 after the Charlotte Observer ran a series that claimed that Beazer arranged larger loans than some customers could afford and violated federal lending rules, leading to high foreclosure rates in certain communities. Prosecutors filed mortgage fraud and accounting fraud charges against Beazer in July of 2009, and the company entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in which it agreed to pay up to $50 million. Beazer was also the defendant in a class action lawsuit over lending practices, which it settled in 2009 for $30.5 million. The company stopped mortgage lending in 2008. Beazer has reported 1,643 home closing in the third quarter of this year, as well as losses of $27.6 million.

A detention hearing for Rand is scheduled for Friday. Rand is also the subject of a lawsuit filed in July of 2009 by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the Northern District of Georgia.