Five physicians and six other men and women face conspiracy and healthcare fraud charges for allegedly running a ring of California clinics that paid patients recruited for their Medicare eligibility and billed the government for fabricated care.
5 docs charged in Medicare scam
According to a federal indictment, physicians Alexander Popov, M.D., Ramanathan Prakash, M.D., Emilio Cruz, M.D., Lana Le Chabrier, M.D., and Sol Teitelbaum, M.D.—all listed as residing in Southern California—submitted claims worth $5.2 million and received $1.6 million from Medicare for services purportedly rendered at clinics in Sacramento, Carmichael and Richmond.
Clinic employees allegedly hired recruiters, or “cappers,” to deliver patients, who were paid $100 for their trouble and their Medicare numbers. The phony billings, according to the indictment, included physical therapy and sleep studies never performed, as well as blood draws and ultrasound exams that employees performed on themselves and one another. The only licensed physician to see any of the patients was Teitelbaum, who was not enrolled as a Medicare provider, the indictment alleges.
The leader of the alleged conspiracy was Vardges Egiazarian, who pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to spend 6½ years in prison and pay $1.5 million restitution. Another physician allegedly involved, Derrick Johnson, M.D., also pleaded guilty last year and has yet to be sentenced.
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