Three Found Guilty for Roles in $20 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme Involving Bogus Prescriptions for Expensive Anti-Psychotic Drugs
Three people linked to a Glendale medical clinic – including a doctor who took money to let his name be used thousands times on bogus prescriptions – were found guilty today of federal fraud charges related to a $20 million scheme to defraud Medicare and Medi-Cal by, among other things, fraudulently prescribing expensive anti-psychotic medications and then re-billing the government for those drugs over and over.
Today’s convictions stem from the first case in the nation alleging an organized scheme to defraud government health care programs through fraudulent claims for anti-psychotic medications. The evidence presented at trial showed how the operators of Manor Medical Imaging in Glendale operated a clinic authorized to make claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal, employed an unlicensed medical practitioner to write bogus prescriptions using an American doctor’s name and license number, and had close relationships with pharmacies and a fraudulent drug wholesale company that were used to funnel prescription drugs back to the pharmacies participating in the scheme.
In the largest case of its kind in Southern California brought against defendants who bilked Medicare Part D, prosecutors showed a federal jury how employees of Manor Medical generated thousands of prescriptions for identify theft victims – such as elderly Vietnamese beneficiaries of Medicare or Medi-Cal, military veterans who were recruited from drug rehab programs, and denizens of Skid Row. Members of the conspiracy created or doctored patient files to make it falsely appear the drugs were necessary and the patients were legitimately treated. After the prescriptions were filled at pharmacies and paid for by Medicare and Medi-Cal, they were sold on the black market and redistributed to pharmacies, where the drugs would be subject to new claims made to Medicare and Medi-Cal as though they were new bottles of drugs.
The scheme generated fraudulent billings of more than $20 million dollars, of which Medi-Cal and Medicare actually paid more than $8 million.
“The defendants took advantage of this nation’s most vulnerable citizens and took millions of dollars from public health care programs that are designed to help the disadvantaged,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “Members of this scheme caused thousands of bottles of dangerous prescription drugs to be diverted to the black market. This case is an example of how operators of health care fraud schemes will be brought to justice, whether they be doctors who enable the fraud or those on the street who recruit patients and divert prescription drugs to the black market.”
Lint to article: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2014/023.html