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Last week, news accounts of the criminal complaint filed by Orange County prosecutors reported that that 45 year old Steven Omid Mehr, an attorney, allegedly used an illegal referral system to send potential clients to California workers’ compensation attorneys, and load them up with fees in the process.

A review of the Grand Jury indictment adds details to the case, as well as the employers and insurance carriers who were victims of $3.8 million in allegedly fraudulent copy service and interpreter bills. Mehr allegedly used the system to direct business to copying and printing services providers he controlled, bilking unsuspecting clients and worker compensation insurance companies.

To support allegations of a violation of Section 3215 of the Labor Code for illegal referral of clients, prosecutors allege Mehr formed Web Shark 360, a marketing firm specializing in advertising for attorneys. He utilized various marketing and advertising platforms to attract persons seeking legal assistance, including purchasing rights to use the name “Jacoby & Meyers” and falsely identifying it as a law firm the public could hire for legal representation.

His intake staff received “leads” in the form of telephone calls, online inquiry submissions, and live-chat notifications through toll-free numbers appearing on “Jacoby & Meyers” advertisements and websites, and leads from other web-based attorney-advertising platforms. His intake staff was allegedly directed to communicate with these prospective clients, or “leads,” and convert them into clients who would be retained for attorneys paying Mehr for client referrals.

Attorneys Gil Alvandi, Tracy Briles, Emily Mehr, Mahdis Kaeni, Anton Diffenderfer and Ziad Rawa (Rawashdeh), amongst others, allegedly agreed to pay defendant Mehr a monthly fee for a predetermined number of client referrals, or a percentage of the attorney’s fees collected from the referred case.

To support a conviction for violation of section 550(b )(3) of the Penal Code (Insurance Fraud), prosecutors allege that Mehr formed and co-owned two copy service companies, Expedited Attorney Services and Capital Attorney Services, with his co-defendant George Hobson III. who is not an attorney. He also formed and co-owned a translation/interpretation company, National Translation Services, with Hobson.

Employees of the copy service companies were sent to law offices of a select group of workers’ compensation applicant attorneys, where they were given access to the law firm’s client files in order to identify entities or “locations” that the copy service could serve with records subpoenas. The copy service companies then billed workers’ compensation insurance companies for each individual location they served with a records subpoena.

The same select group of workers’ compensation applicant attorneys used National Translation Service for translation/interpretation services for their clients. National Translation Service billed workers’ compensation insurance companies for all translation services rendered for these law firms.

The victims where allegedly ACM, AIG, Amtrust, Berkshire Hathaway, City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, County of Riverside, Employers Insurance, Farmers Insurance, Gallagher Bassett, Hartford Insurance, ICW Group, Liberty Mutual, Markel Corporation, Matrix Absence Mgmt., Midwest Insurance, SCIF, Sedgwick, Travelers Insurance, York Risk Services Group, Zenith Insurance, Zurich Insurance.

The indictment names the 44 witnesses called by the Grand Jury to investigate these allegations, and claims further that the victims suffered $3.8 million in losses.