December 3, 2023
Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Picture by Chris Stone

A former San Diego-based U.S. Navy servicemember who took half in a scheme to make false medical claims to a army insurance coverage program in change for unearned advantages was sentenced Friday to 30 months in jail.

Christopher Toups, 46, a former chief petty officer, pleaded responsible to conspiring with a number of others to bilk the Traumatic Servicemembers Teams Life Insurance coverage Program out of round $2 million.

Prosecutors mentioned the defendants submitted fraudulent claims for pretend or exaggerated accidents or disabilities.

Toups personally obtained round $400,000, greater than anybody else concerned within the scheme. Prosecutors say he additionally actively recruited different Navy sailors to submit pretend claims and obtained a part of their payouts. A prosecutor’s sentencing memorandum alleges Toups “had a hand in almost all of the fraudulent claims.”

In complete, 10 defendants have been charged by federal prosecutors.

Amongst them is Navy physician Michael Villarroel, who permitted functions for what he knew have been false claims and obtained greater than $180,000 in kickbacks. Villarroel pleaded responsible earlier this 12 months and awaits sentencing.

Kelene Meyer, a nurse who was married to Toups in the course of the scheme’s time interval, falsified medical information to bolster the claims of faux accidents. She additionally pleaded responsible and is slated for sentencing later this month.

The U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace additionally mentioned a number of defendants have been stationed regionally as a part of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Help Unit One in Coronado.