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Report: Five Charged in California Sober Living Fraud Case

January 22, 2020

Five people in California were arrested last week on charges that they participated in a $3.2 million sober home fraud scheme, according to a report published in the Orange County Register.

The following five individuals have been charged with multiple felony counts, including insurance fraud and money laundering:

  • James Frageau, 29, Temecula
  • Steven Lomonaco, 61, of Laguna Beach
  • Mahyar “Christian” Mohases, 37, of Santa Ana
  • Nicholas Reeves, 42, of Aliso Viejo
  • Robert Williams, 41, of Murrieta

Mohases, Williams, Reeves and Frageau each face up to 14 years in prison if convicted on all charges. Lomonaco faces up to eight years, four months.

According to the OC Register, authorities say Mohases, Frageau, Williams and Reeves recruited substance use disorder patients from across the country to Casa Bella International, a treatment center owned and operated by Lomonaco. To obtain payments for treatment, the four directed employees to fill out insurance policies for patients using false information. The defendants also face charges of orchestrating a related money laundering scheme through a not-for-profit to pay the premiums on the insurance policies.

“These suspects trafficked vulnerable substance abuse patients to California just to make a quick buck from the insurance company, with no regard for their lives, health or recovery,” California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara told the OC Register. “Thanks to the efforts of Department of Insurance investigators, and our close work with District Attorney Todd Spitzer’s office, there is one less fraud ring preying on unsuspecting patients.”

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