OAKLAND – Anthony Giovanni Montanelli and his father, Steven John Montanelli each pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with a scheme to divert medical equipment owned by Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Inc. (Kaiser) for use in their own San Jose-based company, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair. The guilty pleas were accepted by the Hon. Jon S. Tigar, U.S. District Judge.
Anthony Montanelli, 34, and his father Steven Montanelli, 63, both of San Ramon, pleaded guilty to the charges pursuant to separate plea agreements entered by the court. According to the plea agreements, the defendants worked as biomedical engineers at Kaiser, responsible for repairing and servicing Kaiser ultrasound systems used at its medical facilities located throughout the Bay Area. The defendants used their positions at Kaiser to order new ultrasound parts that were supposed to be used to repair, replace, and/or maintain Kaiser’s medical equipment, but instead were diverted to their own business, Pacific Coast Imaging (PCI). They then sold the diverted equipment through PCI for their own profit. The father and son also admitted operating their scheme and business, which they did not disclose to Kaiser, while being paid by Kaiser to service Kaiser-owned equipment.
The defendants admitted that, beginning February 2010 and continuing through about April 2018, they worked together to defraud Kaiser. Specifically, the defendants rented storage units in which they stockpiled new, used, and decommissioned Kaiser-owned ultrasound systems and parts. Some of the Kaiser inventory they ordered through Kaiser became PCI inventory, which they sold and leased to PCI customers. The defendants acknowledged that for years they caused Kaiser’s procurement specialists to process, order, and have mailed to them an unknown number of ultrasound parts which they diverted to PCI. Further, the defendants admitted that they recorded parts and systems as decommissioned when, in fact, the equipment was diverted to PCI. In sum, the defendants both admitted they diverted Kaiser-owned equipment to PCI, operated PCI while employed by Kaiser, and used work hours paid for by Kaiser to operate PCI. The defendants admitted that the loss to Kaiser resulting from the conspiracy exceeded $1,500,000.
A federal grand jury issued a superseding indictment on June 10, 2021, charging each defendant with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. Both defendants pleaded guilty to the count. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The court also may order additional terms of supervised release, fines, forfeitures, and restitution; however, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Green and Garth Hire are prosecuting the case, with the assistance of Kay Konopaske and Noble Hughes. The prosecution was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.