Investigating for Other Charges…

MEWA Trial Delayed

Federal prosecutors were prepared to go to trial next month in the fraud case against American Labor Alliance and its two top executives—Marcus Asay and Antonio Gastelum—but now do not know when they will get to press their case. The defendants, who claimed to sell an alternative to workers’ comp insurance, won a delay after their attorney claimed he was unprepared to go to trial due to the amount of discovery in the case and other conflicts.

Delays keep the money flowing for the defendants.

Parties are due back in court later this month to discuss when the defense might be ready to proceed to trial. Federal prosecutors say the delay could hinder their ability to produce some witnesses who were prepared for a March trial but may not be available later. At least two of the witnesses are currently undergoing advanced cancer treatments.

Notable in the government’s opposition to the continuance motion is the revelation of a continuing investigation into schemes that have not yet been charged.

The original federal indictment came down over three years ago and followed an FBI raid on ALA’s offices. The charges included conspiracy, mail fraud, and money laundering related to the fake workers’ comp coverage and a pension plan that the defendants were selling. A superseding indictment came in late 2020 and added five new wire fraud charges for allegedly selling fake Affordable Care Act compliance certificates.

Even after the superseding indictment was filed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Tierney says in the filing that the government’s investigation continued and shifted focus to the “post-indictment conduct involving the defendants’ offer of workers’ compensation coverage.” The filing says this investigation ended last July with the government’s decision not to seek additional charges at that time.

But that may not be the end of it. Tierney revealed in a footnote to the filing that the government is not done looking into the operation.

“There remains an ongoing investigation into another area of potential criminal activity unrelated to any of the three fraud schemes,” Tierney notes in the filing. “Because it is an ongoing investigation, this Opposition can discuss only limited information about it. However, the subject(s)/target(s) of that investigation and counsel have been notified by the investigating agency of the subject matter.”

For past coverage of the multiple state and federal investigations, as well as legal actions against the defendants click here