SANTA ANA ( — An Orange County jury Monday returned guilty verdicts for four people for their roles in a $154 million insurance fraud scheme.

KNX 1070’s Vytas Safronikas reports the defendants were accused of recruiting nearly 3,000 people nationwide to participate in unneeded medical tests in order to defraud insurance companies.

The alleged scheme revolved around employees and affiliates of Unity Outpatient Surgery Center in Buena Park, including the facility’s office manager, 66-year-old Rosalinda Rodriguez Landon; suspended attorney Roy Chester Dickson, 64; accountant Andrew Robert Harnen, 58; and administrator Dee Francis, 62.

The 24 guilty verdicts were reached last week, but Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals delayed the readings until after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Deputy District Attorney Bill Overtoom said the defendants created shell corporations to avoid paying as much as $9.3 million in taxes.

Landon’s attorney, Roger Sheaks, said his client acted in good faith and did not intend to skirt any tax liability.

“There’s a provision in the law for a good faith defense in this case, and I believe the evidence supported that,” Sheaks said.

Francis is accused of failing to report $3.55 million in income, while Harnen did not report $4.97 million, according to Overtoom. Dickson was accused of not reporting $489,000.

A second phase of the case is expected to go to trial sometime next year.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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