Little Saigon Doctor Who Ran Huge Medicare Scam Relocates To A Federal Prison

vantranmedicarecheat.jpg
Republican pol Van Tran aided friend, a Medicare cheat
A Little Saigon doctor with hefty California Republican Party connections isn't celebrating these holidays at home with family and friends.

Vietnam War refugee, Tuan Duc Tran--CEO of Fountain Valley Healthcare Center and the eldest son of a once high-ranking South Vietnamese Army officer--is now living in a federal prison in Kern County.

After being indicted on nine counts by a 2011 federal grand jury, Tran hired defense lawyer Steven Baric, then vice chairman of the California Republican Party and now a Rancho Santa Margarita city councilman--in an attempt to defeat the charges.

But that move didn't succeed and, in June, the doctor, who received a medical degree in the West Indies, formally admitted he'd operated a multi-year Medicare scam to steal more than $2.4 million from the U.S. Government.

"[Tran] administered medical tests in an improper manner so that he could claim that the test results demonstrated medical need for procedures when the patients, in reality, did not need the treatment," according to Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence E. Kole.

Facing a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison, Tran--whose father also served as South Vietnam's military attache at Vietnam's Embassy in Washington, D.C. from 1966 to 1968--solicited the aid of the nation's first Vietnamese politician elected to a state legislature: Onetime Garden Grove Mayor Van Tran, a Republican.

Van Tran, who lost a bid to defeat Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez in 2010 and is now in private practice with Baric, told U.S. District Court Judge Josephine L. Staton that the Medicare cheater is "a man of good character, loyal to his friends and family, and always willing to help others when they are in need."

Other character references--including Clear Channel official Robert R. Susnar III, called Tran a "great family man" with keen business skills as well as charitable instincts for the poor in Vietnam.

By the time of his sentencing hearing, Tran--who came to the U.S. in 1975 with his parents and siblings after the fall of Saigon and lived at Camp Pendleton--used a federal public defender as his representative; that lawyer argued the disgraced doctor should be punished only with a term of probation, in part, because this defendant's reputation in the medical profession is ruined.

But Judge Staton ordered Tran to begin serving an 18-month sentence this month and officials bused the 53-year-old man to Taft Correctional Institution, a privately-run federal prison for low-security inmates.

The judge also is requiring him to pay more than $777,000 in restitution.

Tran is due to emerge back into freedom in late March 2015, when he'll begin supervised probation for three additional years, according to records inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.

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Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.

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9 comments
AnnLee
AnnLee

First of all he had no medical license. He had a medical degree but never did residency. Second he had help with his scam. Hi medical director at the time was David Pham, MD still practicing in Fountain Valley. Third this guy was no angel his mother was convicted of fraud also in the 90's. and spent time in jail as well.

Kanani Fong
Kanani Fong

So, he scammed over $2.4 million, but only has to pay back $777,000? I think some might call this #winning.

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

The second to last line in paragraph two says Presenting it should read Presently.

AnnLee
AnnLee

Tran was never a doctor. He had a medical degree and walked around in scrubs and acted like a doctor but didn't have a license. The article makes him out to be a choir boy he is not. And he didn't do this alone.

AnnLee
AnnLee

Tran was never a doctor. He had a medical degree and walked around in scrubs and acted like a doctor but didn't have a license. The article makes him out to be a choir boy he is not. And he didn't do this alone. There was another physician in Fountain Valley who was his Medical Director and signed off on the charts.

CAWriter
CAWriter

@paullucas714 No doubt, as a result of his conviction, he will lose his license to practice medicine. However, he will probably simply go practice elsewhere. One has to wonder why the hell the hospital chose someone with a degree from the West Indies.

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