LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A federal jury in Los Angeles Monday convicted three defendants who participated in an $18.5 million scheme that submitted fraudulent claims to the state's Drug Medi-Cal program for alcohol and drug treatment services for high school and middle school students.

With the guilty verdicts, a total of 19 people have been convicted of federal criminal charges stemming from fraudulent bills submitted by a Long Beach company — the non-profit Atlantic Recovery Services, later called Atlantic Health Services — that provided substance use disorder treatment services to students at local high schools and middle schools through Medi-Cal and its Drug Medi-Cal program, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The three defendants convicted Monday are:

  • Gregory Hearns, 66, of Compton, the billing supervisor for ARS who compiled the monthly billing and arranged for its submission to Medi-Cal (guilty of one count and acquitted on 10 others)
  • LaLonnie Egans, 64, of Bellflower, a former manager at ARS (guilty of three counts)
  • Tina Lynn St. Julian, 58, of Inglewood, a former counselor at ARS (guilty of four counts)

U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez is scheduled to sentence all three defendants on July 15, at which time each will face up to 10 years in prison for each count, federal prosecutors said.

According to court documents and the evidence presented during the 12-day trial, the participants in the ARS scheme defrauded the Drug Medi-Cal program by submitting bills for services to students who did not medically need alcohol or drug treatment. ARS also billed Drug Medi-Cal for group and individual counseling sessions that were not provided or did not meet the requirements for reimbursement. To support the false billings, ARS employees falsified numerous documents.

The former president and chief executive officer of ARS — Richard Mark Ciampa, 68, of Commerce — pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced in September to seven years in federal prison.

During the four-year period that ended in March 2013, ARS submitted false and fraudulent claims of just over $18.5 million, and Drug Medi-Cal paid $17,635,100 on those claims, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.