Doctor Faces New Indictment in Fraud Case
A federal grand jury issued a new indictment against a Beverly Hills doctor accused of defrauding his insurers by engineering the theft of two fine artworks from his home. Court documents show the grand jury charged Steven G. Cooperman with two counts of making false statements to a financial institution and one count of subscribing to a false tax return. Cooperman already was facing 16 counts of conspiracy and other charges in connection with the 1992 disappearance of two works by Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet. Cooperman told Los Angeles police the two paintings were stolen from his Brentwood home. When Cooperman’s insurers balked at paying the insured value of the paintings, the doctor sued them and eventually settled for $17.5 million. The indictment released Tuesday sheds light on what prosecutors contend was Cooperman’s motive for the fraud: He had more than $6 million in outstanding loans and had been unable to make his payments on time. The indictment alleges Cooperman lied to a Chase Manhattan Bank representative when he said the paintings were stolen, then failed to disclose to the bank that he had numerous other loans and lawsuits pending against him. Cooperman has pleaded not guilty to the charges in the first indictment and has not yet been arraigned on the new charges. His trial is set for May 4.