David and Linda Morrow were a prominent part of the Orthodox Jewish community of Beverly Hills.
The wife of a Rancho Mirage plastic surgeon was returned to the United States and entered not guilty pleas on Monday in federal court in Los Angeles to new charges involving flight while on probation and contempt of court, records show.
Linda Morrow, 67, with her husband and their business, Morrow Institute Medical Group Inc., were charged in 2016 with dozens of counts of fraudulently billing insurance companies for surgeries that were not covered.
David M. Morrow, 74, worked out a plea deal in 2017 with federal prosecutors in which he admitted guilt to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. But both fled the country to Israel before he could be sentenced and she could be charged.
“Linda Morrow arrived today in Southern California after being deported from Israel,” Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said in an emailed response to questions on Monday. “She is pending charges in the health care fraud case.”
He said David Morrow is pending extradition from Israel.
Both were taken into custody in Israel on June 16.
In his plea deal, Morrow admitted he participated in a scheme to obtain money from insurance companies by “false or fraudulent pretenses.”
Morrow operated two plastic surgery centers in Rancho Mirage and authorities said that for four years his medical practice billed insurance companies for cosmetic surgeries falsely described as “medically necessary.” The loss to insurance companies was estimated at $3.5 million.
He faced up to 20 years in prison — and charges against Linda Morrow had not yet proceeded to trial — when they disappeared in 2017 and later turned up in Israel.
Investigators say the Morrows sold their Beverly Hills home for about $9.5 million and also sold several of their vehicles shortly before disappearing.
“Before slinking away, they had wire-transferred millions of dollars, most likely to fund their flight and disappearance,” officials wrote in 2017 in a summary of the case.