|First Witness Called To The Stand In Jon Woods Trial. Another Witness Admits Carlos Arguello Put Some Companies In Her Name. |
By Lonce Lamonte - March 5, 2019
The first witness called by the prosecution on Monday, February 25th, in the trial of applicants’ attorney Jon Woods, was James D. Fisher.
James Fisher is an attorney with the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers’ Compensation. A professionally dressed, mature, Black man with 30 years of experience as a lawyer, he spoke with confidence and ease.
Fisher was noticeably comfortable and relaxed as he described the California workers’ compensation system. He was remarkably knowledgeable, his thoughts flowed out of him smoothly, and he clearly gave the jury a solid foundation on how the system legitimately works.
On this day, deputy district attorney Maelesa Street, finely dressed in a black jacket and a turquoise-blue skirt, delivered the opening questions.
Maelesa Street: What is workers’ compensation insurance?
James Fisher: Insurance by employers to pay for injured workers’ injuries.
He told the jury about the DWC-1 form.
James Fisher: The idea of this form is to start the process.
Fisher then went through the Doctor’s First Report of Injury, the Medical Provider Networks (MPNs) that were started in 2004 and 2005, and how the employer has to offer modified work if the injured worker can’t return to his exact usual and customary position. He described the rules on what the employer has to pay. Then he explained the Supplemental Job Displacement Voucher of $6,000.00.
Richard Wynn, defense attorney, in his grey jacket, listened while seated next to his client, Jon Woods, also dressed in grey. Woods has been charged with 31 counts of conspiracy and insurance fraud in relation to workers’ compensation claims fraud.
James Fisher told the jury about Compromise & Release settlements and Stipulated Findings & Awards agreements. He explained the value of future medical treatment for injured workers and how a future medical treatment award impacts an injured worker’s future life and health.
He also told the jury about the payments of outstanding liens; and how medical only cases do not have to go through the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
Deputy District Attorney Maelesa Street: Do you recognize this document?
James Fisher: It’s a dismissal of attorney. The term of this is when they go “pro per”.
Fisher went over the Explanation of Benefits form. Independent Bill Review. He explained that most post-termination claims are not compensable. Physicians cannot take kick-backs.
Witness James Fisher: I teach a course in prohibitive self-referral.
James Fisher’s testimony was so clearly explanatory of the California workers’ compensation system that the jury truly received the fundamentals of what the system is and how it works. This was a good start for the prosecution.
Another witness called by the prosecution on Tuesday, February 26th 2019, was Dulce Gallegos.
Dulce Gallegos was a capper, was a charged defendant in a related case, and took a plea deal with the Orange County District Attorney. She is a cooperating witness. For a time, she was the personal assistant to Carlos Arguello. Arguello was the owner of the front organization capping company disguised as a joint advertising company who engaged Jon Woods in a phony joint advertising agreement.
She took the stand in a dark beige v-necked sweater. She is an attractive Mexican woman about 30-years-old with dark full hair.
Dulce disclosed through examination by prosecutor Maelesa Street and defense attorney Richard Wynn that Arguello hid behind her by putting company names in her name. She said she was giving him a break. He was also secretive with one faction by not disclosing his activities with another.
For instance, the applicants’ attorneys, including Jon Woods, who were under contract, were not told that the doctors they were obligated to use were engaged in kick-backs with Arguello.
DDA Maelesa Street: Did you know why Centro de Abogados was taken out in your name?
Witness Dulce Gallegos: It takes the heat off him (Arguello) and his account. He would control those companies. That was the understanding.
The heat was the investigation that was upon him. Carlos Arguello was indicted by the federal government in January of 2016. He took a plea deal with the feds in July of 2016. And what’s astonishing is he kept operating into 2017, when he was charged by the OCDA. He was trying to hide behind false company filings as he controlled the scene. This tactic is exactly like what Dr. Uwaydah does.
So, Dulce Gallegos was trying to help Carlos out. The “heat” was on Carlos. But, soon they had a falling out. They are today not on friendly terms.
Richard Wynn: You realized… everything Carlos Arguello said was a lie.
Dulce Gallegos: Not then, but I started (to not believe).
Richard Wynn: Did Mr. Arguello tell you he did not want the attorney’s name on it?
He is talking about the Joint Advertising Agreement.
Dulce Gallegos: Yes.
Richard Wynn: Did he ever explain cold calling was illegal?
Dulce Gallegos: No.
She worked in the call center in Tijuana. She would listen to phone calls for quality control. She explained that outgoing calls were not called “cold calls”. They were simply called “outgoing calls”.
She became aware of these outgoing calls better at some point.
DDA Maelesa Street: That’s when you became aware of the cold calling?
Dulce Gallegos: Yes.
DDA Maelesa Street: The dialer shoots the number and the caller hangs up. (Then they call back) inquiring who’s calling.
Dulce Gallegos: Yes.
Dulce made a commission on every caller she signed up. She sent the work to the copy services that moved in to the law offices, including Jon Woods’ law office, and sent out subpoenas from files to every location they could to request records. The copy service would get paid per location subpoened by the workers’ compensation payer. This method is illegal as a lawyer is required to be issuing the subpoenas.
Carlos Arguello hired an “ethics” lawyer who wasn’t really an ethics lawyer. He made it appear that way to Dulce Gallegos. The “ethics” lawyer was really an immigration attorney who provided ethics writings from the business and professions codes that Carlos could include in his contracts for show.
Carlos Arguello didn’t want Dulce Gallegos on the sales team for the lawyers because he didn’t want her to have access to them. The reason being, she knew too much about the other end, the end that included billing doctors for cases.
Richard Wynn: In this particular email (which is up on the projector), do you recall what he’s asking you to do?
Dulce Gallegos: Yes. He’s asking me to bill $2,500.00.
Yes, she knew too much. Carlos Arguello controlled multiple subpoena photocopy services, the marketing to doctors including kick-backs with Fermin Iglesias, the Tijuana call center, plus the marketing for the lawyers. He was pulling in income from every angle.
firstname.lastname@example.org, Lonce Lamonte, journalist; copyright adjustercom and Lonce Lamonte