Residents of the neighborhood of Welters Way in Eden Prairie were startled awake in the early hours of Jan. 12 as a group of heavily armed police officers descended upon a home located at 11631 Welters Way.
The officers were serving a search warrant as part of a federal investigation being run by the United States Postal Inspection Service.
When asked why the SWAT team was necessary, Eden Prairie Police Chief Matt Sackett stated that it is more accurately described as a “warrant service team” rather than a “full SWAT team.” Sackett confirmed that a large number of officers were required to secure the home because it is such a large property. He also stated that the warrant was a “knock and enter” warrant, which means that the officers announced their presence and immediately entered the home.
Sackett was quick to assure the public that there is no threat to their safety. He noted a local U.S. magistrate judge signed the federal search warrant.
The raid, however, has left many in the community wondering about the nature of the investigation. For now, all that is certain is that the investigation is ongoing.
Unusual neighbors: Luxury cars and extravagant gatherings
In early 2019, rumors began to spread that a famous musician had purchased the property at 11631 Welters Way. That rumor turned out not to be true.
Instead, the property was purchased by a man named Gabriel Luthor and a woman named Elizabeth Christine Brown.
The new household drew attention in the typically quiet neighborhood.
After Brown and Luthor moved in, a cavalcade of luxury cars were frequently parked in the driveway, including a Hummer, Mercedes and Maserati. The couple also made significant additions and improvements to the home, with building permits totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars being issued for the address.
Rumors in the neighborhood spread that Luthor was a successful technology entrepreneur from Los Angeles and a close friend of music star Drake. Huge parties were held at the home, with reports of men paying a cover charge to attend and armed security present.
But after the search warrant was served on Jan. 12, things went quiet at the house.
EPLN has uncovered information that sheds light on the alleged criminal activity being investigated by postal inspectors, as well as the identities of at least two potential defendants.
A civil lawsuit was filed on Aug. 31, 2022, in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, with Bryan Stewart as the plaintiff, suing Golden Victory Medical LLC (Case No. 22-cv-02145).
The civil complaint identifies the co-owners of Golden Victory Medical as Gabriel Luthor and Elizabeth Brown. In fact, the Golden Victory website currently identifies Elizabeth Brown as the company’s CEO.
The lawsuit raised allegations of wrongful termination and violations of the False Claims Act, with Stewart, who had been the CEO of Golden Victory Medical, claiming numerous financial improprieties.
Golden Victory Medical is a Nevada-based LLC that operates five mental health clinics in four states. According to the Golden Victory website, the clinics are located in Delray Beach and Ponte Vedra, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Stillwater, Oklahoma; and Wichita, Kansas.
In the complaint, Stewart claims he was hired in November 2021 as Golden Victory’s first CEO and was allowed to do his job remotely from his personal residence in Alabama. Stewart also claims he was terminated by the owners of Golden Victory on June 1, 2022, in retaliation for his efforts to remediate medical billing irregularities and to stop a pattern of widespread billing and coding violations.
According to the complaint, Luthor and Brown co-founded Golden Victory in 2017 by acquiring a group of existing clinics, and they are now residents of Minnesota.
It appears certain that Gabriel Luthor and Elizabeth Brown identified in the Golden Victory lawsuit, are the residents of the Welters Way address. A foreign business filing made with the Minnesota Secretary of State on May 2, 2022, confirms this.
In September 2019, Luthor obtained a Minnesota state court order changing his legal name from Gabriel Adam Alexander Langford to Gabriel Adam Alexander Luthor.
The lawsuit makes several allegations against Golden Victory Medical, including that the company, under the direction of Luthor and Brown, engaged in a pattern of fraudulent medical billings involving Medicaid and Medicare funds.
The complaint alleges that an independent audit determined that Golden Victory’s billing was inaccurate, with coding and billing accuracy levels at 32.44%, compared to an industry gold standard of 95%.
Golden Victory Medical has submitted an answer to the complaint, denying the allegations and submitting numerous affirmative defenses and counterclaims. In the counterclaims, Golden Victory claims Stewart engaged in racist behavior, created a hostile work environment and tried to take control of the company through wrongful means.
It is not known whether Stewart is a potential subject of a federal criminal investigation. If the government recovers funds under the False Claims Act, Stewart may be entitled to be paid a percentage of those funds. It does appear likely that Elizabeth Christine Brown and Gabriel Adam Alexander Luthor are the subjects of an extensive and substantial criminal investigation being conducted by postal inspectors.
EPLN consulted a prominent criminal law expert Christina Zauhar, a partner with the Halberg law firm, for insight into the case. Zauhar is not involved in the case.
Zauhar stated that “fraudulent billing of Medicare and Medicaid would certainly be a basis for criminal charges at either the state or federal level.”
She also noted that “based on my experience with similar cases, the search warrant would likely allow the government to seize property items that could potentially provide evidence of the alleged fraud, such as computers, phones, and any business-related paperwork. Technical devices like computers and phones would then be searched by digital forensic specialists.”
With regard to potential criminal liability, Zauhar stated that “depending on the extent of the alleged criminal wrongdoing, they would likely be facing felony-level federal charges of fraud and/or theft. A presumed sentence in a federal case is dependent on a variety of factors, including a person’s criminal record and the dollar amount loss.
“In an offense of this nature, I would anticipate a presumptive sentence involving prison time, even for a person without a prior criminal history,” Zauhar continued. “Criminal penalties can also include restitution, or a court order that a convicted person pay a victim back for money lost as a result of a crime. In a case like this, the victim would be the government.”
U.S. Postal Inspection Service response
On Jan. 24, EPLN contacted U.S. Postal Inspector Rachel Williams for comment on the ongoing investigation. Williams confirmed that the search warrant for the case is sealed and that the investigation is currently confidential.
When asked if Luthor and Brown were targets of the investigation, Williams stated, “I am unable to admit or deny.”
When asked if the investigation’s focus is on potential fraudulent billing to Medicare and Medicaid by Golden Victory Medical, Williams again stated, “I am unable to admit or deny.”
Criminal investigations can be complex and often move at their own pace. This particular investigation, which involves medical billing for services provided at multiple clinics in multiple locations, will likely involve a significant amount of money. While more information may be revealed in the future, it is currently unclear when that will happen.
Editor’s Note: Contributor Frank Farrell is on the EPLN Board of Directors and lives on Welters Way. Farrell, a lawyer, witnessed some of the events reported in this story.
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