Mira Mesa dentist sentenced to 6 years in custody for $866K insurance fraud scheme

A Mira Mesa dentist was sentenced Wednesday to six years in custody and ordered her to pay more than $405,000 in restitution for fraudulently billing 10 insurance companies for hundreds of root canals she did not perform, authorities said.

April Rose Ambrosio, 59, pleaded guilty earlier this year to three counts of insurance fraud as part of a four-year scheme in which she billed the insurance companies $866,700, according to prosecutors and the state insurance commissioner.

Authorities said she was paid $405,633 by the insurance companies. San Diego Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein ordered Ambrosio to pay back that money.

She was ordered to serve a split sentence, meaning she will spend three years in county jail and three years on mandatory supervision in the community. California law changed in 2011 to allow some non-violent offenders to serve their prison terms in jail — a situation often described in court as “local prison.”

In September 2019, a judge ordered Ambrosio to stop practicing dentistry. State records show that’s when her license, which was issued in 1990, was suspended.

Authorities said Ambrosio falsely claimed to have performed 800 root canals on 100 patients between 2014 and 2018, even though she lacked the specialized training required to perform root canals.

In some instances, the people she claimed to have performed root canals for had never set foot in her office. In another instance, she billed an insurance company $61,700 for 110 root canals, all of which she claimed to perform on a family of four over just a three-month period in 2016.

“Her deception involved billing for work on days her office was closed, or she was noted as being on vacation,” county prosecutors said in a news release. “In some instances, Ambrosio billed for root canals on non-existent or missing teeth, or she double billed for teeth she previously claimed to have performed root canals on.”

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said the way that Ambrosio “bilked the system” was “astounding.”

“Unfortunately, when insurance companies get ripped off, consumers ultimately pay the price through higher premiums,” Stephan said in a news release.

Ambrosio’s attorney, Kerry Armstrong, said his client “is extremely remorseful” and ready to begin her sentence next week.

“By all accounts, she was a fantastic dentist to her patients,” Armstrong wrote in an email Wednesday night. “And while she possibly will never get to practice dentistry again, she hopes to work in a field where she can help people once she serves her sentence and regains employment again.”

California Department of Insurance personnel investigated Ambrosio for more than two years and worked with the insurance fraud division of the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute the case.

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Curves Celebrates 28 Years of Ingenuity and Innovation in the Women’s Fitness Industry

Enhanced membership options offer franchise owners additional revenue streams. New franchise opportunities for entrepreneurs extend beyond the reach of local clubs.

WACO, Texas, Oct. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — This year, Curves celebrates 28 years of delivering a fitness solution designed specifically for women and 28 years of creating entrepreneurial opportunities for women who want to own their own business, provide for the financial needs of their families, and be a health resource in their communities. Krishea Holloway, President and CEO of Curves NA and Oceania, Inc., says that in 2020, Curves offers even more opportunities for entrepreneurs who have a passion for fitness and healthy living.

When Holloway took ownership of Curves in North America and Oceania in 2019, she introduced changes to help existing franchise owners better manage their businesses, increase their revenue, and improve their members’ gym experience. Now Curves is offering entrepreneurs new ways to engage with the Curves brand.

For franchise owners of local Curves clubs, Holloway’s upgrades include:

State-of-the-Art Operating System
Curves’ partnership with WellnessLiving offers owners an operating system that provides integrated CRM, payment, and member loyalty program tools and enables personalized webpages, reporting, and client communications.  

Enhanced Revenue Opportunities
The MyCurves on Demand program replicates the traditional Curves full body workout using a resistance band in place of the club’s circuit equipment for streaming workouts that can be done anytime, anywhere. When COVID-19 forced gyms to close temporarily, the at-home program provided an ongoing revenue stream for owners and a daily workout for Curves members. The MyCurves On Demand + Coaching Membership add-on includes weekly sessions with a Curves Coach. 

The Curves Health and Wellness Education Series allows Curves Coaches to become health resources in their own communities by delivering the most recent research on important health topics. Courses include dynamic e-leanings, weekly content review, and an extensive library of functional exercises. 

The Curves Strong (USA & Canada) and Curves Strong AU/NZ (Australia & New Zealand) apps provide Curves members with incentives to upgrade to premium status. 

For entrepreneurs looking for a more flexible franchise option, Curves now offers:
Curves Ambassador Program
Curves Ambassadors are independent contractors who develop a network of prospects and subscribers. They earn commissions for direct sales of Curves virtual offerings and products in areas with no Curves gym. 

Curves On The Go

Certified Curves On The Go Coaches lead group fitness classes at convenient “drop-in”, party, or corporate locations throughout their community. 

“I started my first Curves franchise at the age of 21, and I want more ambitious entrepreneurs to see Curves as a place to start and grow,” said Holloway. “My advice to aspiring business owners is, ‘It’s never too early or too late to start. Don’t count yourself or your financial situation out before you try.  I found a way to make the finances work on my own, even at an early age.’” 

Curves is famous for its 30-minute fitness circuit, with a Curves Coach at every workout and accountability to stay on

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Ex-doctor whose patient killed Montgomery family in wreck sentenced to 7 years for fraud

A former doctor was recently sentenced to federal prison on fraud charges he incurred after a prescription patient of his high on medication fatally crashed into a family of four driving home from church in Conroe.

Rezik A. Saqer, 66, of Houston, was sentenced to seven years on Oct. 9 by Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas. Rosenthal ordered Saqer to pay $5 million in restitution for fraudulently billing health care programs.

In early July 2019, Saqer pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Saqer, according to an Oct. 9 release from the U.S. Department of Justice, was a physician and anesthesiologist at Texas Pain Solutions and Integra Medical Clinic.


Saqer’s patient, Ronald Evan Cooper, 73, of Montgomery, was sentenced to 80 years in prison in May 2017 for intoxication manslaughter. Cooper fatally struck with his car Roland Sedlmeier, 49, Melinda Sedlmeier, 42, Harley, 6, and Sofie, 4, as the family departed Sunday church service Sept. 20, 2015 on Texas 105.

Evidence presented at Saqer’s sentencing showed he had patients submit to “unnecessary and dangerous” procedures and tests as performed by his unlicensed staff and then billed them to health care providers as if he had carried out the work, the District Attorney’s office stated.

Health care providers were fraudulently billed more than $14.6 million by Saquer, according to the DOJ press release.

Additionally, “Saqer’s scheme contributed to multiple overdose deaths,” read a statement from the DA’s Office.

Citing an interest in not conflicting with Saqer’s prosecution in federal court, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed six murder charges the former doctor was facing and a seventh felony charge. These seven charges resulted from the prosecution of Cooper, according to the DA’s office.

Between March 2014 and September 2015, five of Saqer’s patients allegedly died as a result of him furnishing them drugs knowing they were substance abusers. A sixth murder charge alleged a patient in 2011 died after Saqer had an unlicensed person furnish “nontherapeutic” drugs, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The other dismissed charge was for a first-degree organized criminal activity felony for allegedly billing insurance companies for services not rendered in the span of five years, the affidavit showed.

The charges for which Saqer was sentenced resulted from work on the case against him as led by Assistant DA Tamara Holland, along with the Texas Department of Insurance and the Conroe Police Department, the DA’s Office stated.

“I want to thank all of the many people who worked so hard to obtain this outcome. There were endless hours spent on this case by a significant number of investigators and prosecutors, all to ensure Dr. Saqer finally met justice for his dangerous scheme,” Holland said in a statement.

District Attorney Brett Ligon spoke on the impact the Sedlmeier crash had on his office.

“I am proud to have our office work in close cooperation with multiple state and federal agencies, to investigate a case that has affected our community

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Dentist who stole $866K through insurance fraud gets 6 years in prison

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A former Mira Mesa dentist who bilked insurance companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by submitting claims for procedures she never performed, including hundreds of supposed root canals, has been sentenced to six years in state prison, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

April Rose Ambrosio, 59, pleaded guilty to three counts of insurance fraud earlier this year for fraudulently billing insurance companies for $866,700, for which she received more than $400,000 from 10 insurance companies, according to prosecutors.

The DA’s Office said Ambrosio falsely claimed she performed 800 root canals on 100 patients, despite not having specialized training as an endodontist to perform such procedures.

Ambrosio was sentenced earlier this month, and in addition to a six-year prison term, was ordered to pay $405,633 in restitution. Her license to practice dentistry was also suspended last year, a few months after she was charged.

Prosecutors say the fraud occurred between 2014 and 2018.

During that time, Ambrosio billed for work she said occurred on days her office was closed and billed for more than 100 root canals during a three- month period, all of which were supposedly performed for a family of four, according to the DA’s Office. She also billed for root canals on teeth patients didn’t have or double billed for teeth she previously said she performed root canals on, the DA’s Office said.

“The way this defendant bilked the system is astounding,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “Unfortunately, when insurance companies get ripped off, consumers ultimately pay the price through higher premiums.”

Ambrosio’s case was investigated over the course of two years by the California Department of Insurance and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

“This medical provider abused the trust placed in her by fraudulently billing for procedures she never performed and was never trained to perform,” California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said. “Her illegal actions cost California consumers through higher insurance premiums and erodes the trust consumers hold for honest providers in the dentistry field.”

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Mira Mesa dentist gets six years for false claims to insurance companies

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A former Mira Mesa dentist who bilked insurance companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by submitting claims for procedures she never performed, including hundreds of supposed root canals, has been sentenced to six years in state prison, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

April Rose Ambrosio, 59, pleaded guilty to three counts of insurance fraud earlier this year for fraudulently billing insurance companies for $866,700, for which she received more than $400,000 from 10 insurance companies, according to prosecutors.

The DA’s Office said Ambrosio falsely claimed she performed 800 root canals on 100 patients, despite not having specialized training as an endodontist to perform such procedures.

Ambrosio was sentenced earlier this month, and in addition to a six- year prison term, was ordered to pay $405,633 in restitution. Her license to practice dentistry was also suspended last year, a few months after she was charged.

Prosecutors say the fraud occurred between 2014 and 2018. During that time, Ambrosio billed for work she said occurred on days her office was closed and billed for more than 100 root canals during a three- month period, all of which were supposedly performed for a family of four, according to the DA’s Office. She also billed for root canals on teeth patients didn’t have or double billed for teeth she previously said she performed root canals on, the DA’s Office said.

“The way this defendant bilked the system is astounding,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “Unfortunately, when insurance companies get ripped off, consumers ultimately pay the price through higher premiums.”

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Mira Mesa Dentist Gets Six Years For Insurance Fraud

SAN DIEGO, CA — A former Mira Mesa dentist who bilked insurance companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by submitting claims for procedures she never performed, including hundreds of supposed root canals, has been sentenced to six years in state prison, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

April Rose Ambrosio, 59, pleaded guilty to three counts of insurance fraud earlier this year for fraudulently billing insurance companies for $866,700, for which she received more than $400,000 from 10 insurance companies, according to prosecutors.

The DA’s Office said Ambrosio falsely claimed she performed 800 root canals on 100 patients, despite not having specialized training as an endodontist to perform such procedures.

Ambrosio was sentenced earlier this month, and in addition to a six- year prison term, was ordered to pay $405,633 in restitution. Her license to practice dentistry was also suspended last year, a few months after she was charged.

Prosecutors say the fraud occurred between 2014 and 2018.

During that time, Ambrosio billed for work she said occurred on days her office was closed and billed for more than 100 root canals during a three- month period, all of which were supposedly performed for a family of four, according to the DA’s Office. She also billed for root canals on teeth patients didn’t have or double billed for teeth she previously said she performed root canals on, the DA’s Office said.

“The way this defendant bilked the system is astounding,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “Unfortunately, when insurance companies get ripped off, consumers ultimately pay the price through higher premiums.”

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Harvard researcher estimates COVID-19 has cost US 2.5 million years of life

A Harvard researcher who looked at the life expectancy of 200,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus estimates COVID-19 has cost the United States 2.5 million years of life.

The researcher, molecular biologist and geneticist Stephen Elledge, is the Gregor Mendel Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, both located in Boston, USA Today reported.

Elledge arrived at his findings by estimating the remaining years of life those 200,000 COVID-19 victims likely had. He found that many of those who died were in middle age, and not elderly.

“It was really pretty shocking,” Elledge told USA Today, adding, “the younger half of that population are losing just as much life as the old people. And they really need to know it.”

The genetics professor said many of those killed by the disease could have lived decades more if not for the pandemic.

“Someone who dies in their 50s, for example, loses two to three decades of life expectancy,” said Elledge. He also said COVID-19 may have lasting effects on patients post-infection, and that its effects on young people later in their lives is unknown.

“You’re pushing your age forward,” he said. “All the people who make it through, who knows what’s going to happen to them when they get older.”

Elledge’s work typically encompasses DNA studies, though he wrote up his ideas about cumulative lost years due to COVID-19 deaths using simple calculations in an online report.

He said his findings were aligned with calculations he conducted earlier in the pandemic, adding that he is seeking to get them published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal soon.

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Man In Coma For 8 Years Wakes Up Minutes After Doctors Give Him Sleeping Pill

A man, who was in a coma for nearly a decade, regained full consciousness and started to walk, minutes after a doctor gave him a sleeping pill.

The man, identified as 37-year-old Richard, was hospitalized in his late 20s after he choked on a piece of meat which left him with severe brain damage. He suffered from akinetic mutism, a condition in which a person cannot move or speak.

After eight years, the doctors discovered that certain types of brain damage could be temporarily cured by sleeping pills. With his family’s permission, the pill, Zolpidem, was administered and within 20 minutes of taking it, the man woke up and also asked the nurse how he can operate the wheelchair.

“Because Richard’s situation seemed hopeless, the family and I decided to administer this medication to Richard. Against all expectations, Zolpidem had remarkable effects. After taking the sleeping pill, Richard started talking, wanted to call his father, and started recognizing his brothers again. With some help, he could even get up from his wheelchair and walk short distances,” Doctoral student Willemijn van Erp at Radboud University told medical journal Cortex. 

Speaking about the decision to give him the sleeping pill, Dr. Hisse Arnts at Amsterdam UMC said, “Richard’s brain scans show overactivity in certain parts of the brain. This overactivity causes noise and somehow shuts down the “good” brain activity. We have discovered that administering this sleeping medication can suppress this unwanted brain overactivity, creating space for speech and movement.”

The medication’s effect, however, started wearing off after it was administered once a day for five days.

“The time windows during which the patient was able to talk and move got narrower, and his abilities to move and speak during these time windows decreased. The use of multiple doses of zolpidem during a single day showed no improvement in his clinical condition and sometimes even caused sedation,” Dr. Arnts told the journal. 

CT scan This a representational image showing doctors looking at CT scan in Bethesda, Maryland, Feb. 8, 2018. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

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Montgomery doctor sentenced to 15 years in federal prison in pill mill case

A former Montgomery physician has been sentenced to federal prison for convictions on drug distribution, health care fraud and money laundering.

Richard A. Stehl, 60, was sentenced Friday to 15 years, according to a joint statement Monday by Middle District of Alabama U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr., DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Sean Stephen, HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Derrick L. Jackson, and Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners Executive Director William Perkins.

Stehl was convicted in December 2019 on 94 counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances, two counts of health care fraud, and five counts of money laundering.

The trial evidence showed that from 2010 through 2018, Stehl operated a medical practice, Healthcare on Demand. For most of that time, the practice was located at 201 Winton M. Blount Loop in Montgomery—just off of Taylor Road.

At his practice, Stehl prescribed addictive, controlled substances—including hydrocodone cough syrup, Adderall, Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan—despite knowing no legitimate medical purposes existed to support these prescriptions.

During the trial, the jury heard from ten of Stehl’s former patients. Each patient received multiple controlled substances prescriptions from Stehl. Several of the patients either developed addictions while seeing Stehl or had existing addictions worsened as a result of the supposed medical treatment Stehl provided.

One patient testified she would wait four hours to see Stehl and, by the time she made it to the examination room, she would demand that Stehl give her a prescription and let her leave—which he would then do. Another described driving more than four hours to see Stehl because she knew that Stehl would give her the drugs that she wanted. A third patient stated that Stehl gave her routine steroid injections—even though she reported to Stehl that she was allergic to steroids. After receiving several injections from Stehl, this patient wound up in the hospital.

At Friday’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Terry F. Moorer emphasized the harm that Stehl inflicted upon his patients, the fact that he prioritized profit over patient care, and Stehl’s complete lack of remorse as grounds for imposing the 15-year sentence.

The Drug Enforcement Agency and Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General investigated this case. They were aided by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division. Additionally, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Millbrook Police Department, the Opelika Police Department, the Montgomery Police Department, the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, and the United States Marshals Service all assisted in the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan S. Ross, Alice LaCour, and Megan Kirkpatrick prosecuted the case.

“The criminal conduct that occurred under the guise of Stehl’s medical practice was appalling,” stated Franklin said. “Stehl caused his patients to become addicted to powerful controlled substances all in the name of profit. In doing so, he inflicted immeasurable harm in the lives of his patients and his patients’ loved ones. The significant sentence imposed in this case reflects a just reward for Stehl’s drug dealing.”

“Stehl was the kingpin of taking advantage

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Endometriosis patients wait eight years to be diagnosed

Pelvic pain stomachache concept. Hands of young woman on stomach as suffer on menstruation cramp, indigestion,gastrointestinal,diarrhea problem
Abdominal pain is one of the main symptoms of endometriosis. (Posed by a model, Getty Images)

Endometriosis takes on average eight years to be diagnosed in the UK, a report has found.

The disorder affects one in 10 women of a reproductive age. It occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other parts of the body, usually the ovaries or fallopian tubes.

Each menstrual cycle, these cells break down and bleed, much like a period, except the blood has no way of leaving the body.

As well as reduced fertility, the main symptom is pain, which may be felt in the abdomen, during sex or when urinating.

Read more: Endometriosis patients ‘finally feel believed’

The vague signs mean endometriosis is often misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome, a urinary tract infection or just heavy periods.

Despite the condition’s wide prevalence, a report by the All-Party Political Group has revealed endometriosis diagnosis rates have not improved in more than a decade.

Healthcare concept of professional psychologist doctor consult in psychotherapy session or counsel diagnosis health.
Many patients feel their doctor is in the dark about the condition. (Posed by models, Getty Images)

More than 10,000 endometriosis patients took part in the inquiry, which was launched after BBC research found around half had experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of their pain.

The report’s authors found more than half (58%) of the women visited their GP more than 10 times before being diagnosed, while 53% went to A&E with symptoms, unaware they had endometriosis.

Most of the participants claimed their mental health, education or career had been damaged by the condition, with more than a third (35%) saying their income had been cut as a result.

Read more: Irregular periods linked to early death

One woman who knows the impact of this all too well is Helen-Marie Brewster, 28, from Hull.

“I failed most of my GCSEs because I was in bed, in crippling pain,” she told the BBC.

“I’ve lost nearly every job I’ve ever had because of my poor attendance.

“Last year I visited A&E 17 times trying to find help and pain relief for this condition, even for just a few days so I can keep going.”

Watch: Geordie Shore star in tears over ‘excruciating’ endometriosis pain

Around nine in 10 (90%) of the inquiry’s participants would have liked access to psychological support, which they were never offered.

The report’s authors therefore recommend compulsory menstrual wellbeing should be taught in schools throughout the UK. It is only compulsory in English schools.

Read more: Menopausal delay surgery has ‘no evidence’

With many of the participants claiming their medics seemed to be in the dark about endometriosis, the authors also want training for GPs, nurses and gynaecologists to be reviewed, as well as greater investment into diagnoses and treatments.

A woman with suspected endometriosis usually has her abdomen and vagina examined by a GP. She may then be referred for an ultrasound scan.

The only way to be sure of endometriosis is a test called a laparoscopy, which involves

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