Loading…
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
HomeNewsCourts
Published: Tuesday, 2/26/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Local firm seeks to take stake from co-owner

Illinois surgeon wanted by FBI on fraud charges

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Toledo company that produces hydraulic and lubrication parts for industrial machinery has filed suit locally to legally force out one of its co-owners who is on the FBI’s most-wanted list for white-collar crimes.

Sentinel Fluid Controls LLC of 5702 Opportunity Dr.; its principal owner, David Casazza, of Rockford, Ill., and one of Mr. Casazza’s companies, DCGG LLC of Rockford, filed suit Feb. 14 in Lucas County Common Pleas Court against Dr. Gautam Gupta in an effort to expel him from Sentinel’s management board.

Dr. Gupta, a surgeon who operated a series of weight-loss clinics in Illinois, is wanted in Chicago after being indicted in 2011 for seven counts of mail fraud, two counts of health-care fraud, and one count of conspiracy. Dr. Gupta is alleged to have defrauded both the Illinois Medicaid program and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of nearly $25 million between 2001 and 2010, billing for unnecessary procedures or procedures never performed.

Dr. Gupta, whose last known address was in Rockford, is believed to have fled the country. The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

Because of the infamy of Dr. Gupta, who owns nearly 6 percent of Sentinel, the limited liability company has had problems securing financing from lenders. Mr. Casazza would like to remove Dr. Gupta’s ownership ties, said Toledo attorney Mark Wagoner, Jr., who is handling the case.

Under Ohio corporate law, Dr. Gupta can retain his ownership stake, but the fact that he can’t be found makes it difficult to conduct some business under the firm’s LLC operating agreement.

However, Ohio law does allow a partner in a limited liability company to be expelled if the member performs an action that impugns the company. “Expulsion of members of LLCs doesn’t happen very often. But in this case, it’s warranted,” Mr. Wagoner said.

Mr. Casazza could not be reached for comment.

Sentinel filed suit this month but could not serve Dr. Gupta with notice of the filing. “If the FBI can't find him, I’m not sure the Lucas County Sheriff’s processors could,” Mr. Wagoner said.

So under law, Sentinel must file six legal notices of the lawsuit in various publications where Dr. Gupta normally might be expected to see them and can respond to the suit. Approximately 28 days after the sixth notice is filed, the court can grant the company approval to remove Dr. Gupta as a co-owner.

“He will have an opportunity to respond, but I don’t think that’s likely,” Mr. Wagoner said.

Sentinel already has sent a letter to Dr. Gupta’s last known address, informing him he’s being expelled from the company. His ownership stake has been valued at $96,000 and the firm put the money in escrow, where it will be subject to federal tax liens by the Internal Revenue Service.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.