Local News

Wednesday, Oct 20 2010 06:13 PM

Medical clinic operator to receive six-year sentence in fraud case

BY STEVE E. SWENSON, Californian staff writer sswenson@bakersfield.com

A 44-year-old Bakersfield woman will be sentenced to six years in prison for a major fraud case involving unlawfully running a medical clinic, improperly billing insurance companies and falsifying documents to obtain vehicle loans, a prosecutor confirmed Wednesday.

Shawn Renee Dodd, who has been in jail for 17 months with a $1 million bail, pleaded no contest Wednesday to five of 23 felonies she faced. The rest were dismissed.

The plea was based on a stipulated sentence of six years in prison and $2.2 million in restitution, of which more than $200,000 has already been seized, prosecutor Kate Zimmermann said.

Dodd's husband, James Carol Dodd Jr., 52, also pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge, which was reduced from a felony, relating to fraudulently obtaining a loan for a motorhome, leaving the bank with a $40,000 loss, Zimmermann said.

He and his wife will be sentenced Nov. 19 and his sentence was set at a year in jail, the prosecutor said. His defense attorney, Roger Lampkin, said his client will likely serve significantly less than that time.

"The victims and law enforcement agencies who investigated the case are pleased with the result," Zimmermann said.

More than a year ago, Mrs. Dodd's mother, Barbara Bayird, then 67, pleaded guilty to grand theft of property and making false insurance statements stemming from the purchase of a Corvette. Bayird was sentenced to five years probation and 200 hours of community service and was ordered to pay nearly $22,000 to Kern Schools Federal Credit Union and Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Co., court records say.

The loans for the motorhome and Corvette were based on false W-2 filings that Shawn Dodd's husband and mother made substantial money working from Provident Medical Management, one of Shawn Dodd's businesses, investigation reports in the case say.

The case was first filed in January 2007. State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said in a news release then, "Ms. Dodd seems to have quite an appetite for insurance fraud."

The charges Mrs. Dodd pleaded to were conspiracy to defraud based on her husband's motorhome purchase, failure to collect tax for the Employment Development Department, practicing medicine without a certificate and two counts of false insurance claims.

The tax charge stemmed from falsely reporting payroll information, identifying employees as independent contractors to reduce a tax payment to the EDD, Zimmermann said.

The law also requires a licensed professional to run a medical corporation, such as the Golden Valley Medical Plaza that Mrs. Dodd had at 3201 F St., but she was not licensed, the prosecutor said.

The false insurance claims involved a series of billings for services either not performed or billings that required a licensed professional to submit, Zimmermann said.

Mrs. Dodd's attorney, Brian McNamara, did not return a call seeking comment.

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