In a recent development, a health care staffing executive in Las Vegas has been hit with additional fraud charges. The executive, Eduardo Lopez, is accused of conspiring to fix the wages of nurses in Las Vegas and then deceitfully concealing this conspiracy and the subsequent government investigation in order to sell his company for a whopping $10 million. The charges, brought forth by a federal grand jury, include counts of conspiracy and wire fraud. Not only does this indictment shed light on the deceptive practices within the healthcare industry, but it also emphasizes the commitment of law enforcement to protect workers’ rights and combat unlawful anticompetitive conduct.
Fraud Charges Added Against Health Care Staffing Executive in Las Vegas
Summary of Charges
A federal grand jury in Las Vegas has returned a superseding indictment charging a health care staffing executive, Eduardo Lopez, with conspiring to fix the wages of Las Vegas nurses. The indictment also alleges that Lopez fraudulently concealed the conspiracy and the government’s investigation in order to sell his company for over $10 million. The charges include conspiring to suppress and eliminate competition for the services of nurses, as well as multiple counts of wire fraud.
Eduardo Lopez held executive positions at three different home health agencies in Las Vegas. In these roles, he was responsible for the recruitment, hiring, retention, and assignments of nurses and other health care staff. According to court documents, Lopez engaged in a conspiracy to fix the wages of nurses from March 2016 to May 2019.
The superseding indictment charges Lopez and other unnamed co-conspirators with agreeing to suppress and eliminate competition for the services of nurses. This anti-competitive behavior is a violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals. The indictment also includes multiple counts of wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Statement from the Justice Department
Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division emphasized the harm caused by wage fixing and stated that the division will aggressively investigate and prosecute such conspiracies. U.S. Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada expressed the commitment to enforce federal antitrust laws and protect workers’ rights to compete for employment in a fair marketplace. Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division echoed this sentiment, highlighting the FBI’s determination to combat fraudulent activity and wage fixing.
Penalties for Violations
If convicted, Lopez could face severe penalties. A violation of the Sherman Act carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by victims. Additionally, a violation of the wire fraud statute carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Investigation and Assistance
The case was investigated by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s International Corruption Unit, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada. The charges are part of the Antitrust Division’s ongoing commitment to prosecute anticompetitive conduct affecting labor markets. Individuals with information on market allocation or price fixing by employers can contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center or visit their website to report any violations.
Presumption of Innocence
It is important to note that an indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Lopez will have the opportunity to present his defense and challenge the charges brought against him.
This case is not the first involving allegations of wage fixing in the health care staffing industry. In a separate indictment, a health care staffing company and executive were charged with colluding to suppress the wages of school nurses. These cases highlight the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect workers’ rights and maintain fair and competitive labor markets.
For more information about this case or to report any violations of antitrust laws, individuals can contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258 or visit their website at www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada can also be contacted for further information.
The indictment of Eduardo Lopez, a health care staffing executive in Las Vegas, on charges of conspiring to fix nurse wages and committing wire fraud, underscores the government’s commitment to prosecuting anticompetitive behavior and fraudulent activity in the labor market. The penalties for these violations are severe, reflecting the seriousness of such conduct. The justice system remains dedicated to ensuring a fair and competitive marketplace and protecting the rights of workers.