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Man Sentenced in Scam of Sick, Elderly

A Studio City man pleaded no contest to stealing $7,000 from the sick and elderly in a telemarketing scheme and was sentenced to a year in jail or 130 days on a Caltrans work crew.

Mark Phillip Sugarman, 37, was sentenced Thursday by Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Jacob Adajian after Sugarman entered his plea on two counts of grand theft. Adajian also ordered Sugarman to pay full restitution to the victims of the scheme.

Deputy City Atty. Keith De La Rosa said Sugarman used a telemarketing business called Medical Alert to divert customers from the Medic Alert Foundation. The Medic Alert Foundation sends its customers a pendant or bracelet that lists the medical conditions of the person who wears it. The foundation also keeps a database of the medical conditions of its customers, so paramedics and doctors can access their medical history quickly.

De La Rosa said directory assistance often gave Sugarman’s number to people looking for the foundation. Sugarman would then offer the same services as Medic Alert Foundation. But evidence suggested that his company did not maintain any computerized data on customers that would be provided to doctors in the case of an emergency, prosecutors said.

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“He would charge these people anywhere from $30 to $400 for a dime-store pendant,” De La Rosa said.

Sugarman scammed 50 people this way, De La Rosa said, but so far only 28 have come forward.

“These people were depending on this service in case of an emergency,” De La Rosa said.


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