In the largest-ever health care fraud enforcement action by federal prosecutors, 14 defendants have been charged in the Central District of California for allegedly participating in health care fraud schemes that caused approximately $147 million in losses.
The defendants charged locally are among hundreds of people facing charges throughout the United States in cases that cumulatively allege approximately $1.3 billion in false billings. The nationwide sweep includes charges against more than 120 defendants – some of whom are doctors – who allegedly prescribed and distributed opioids and other dangerous narcotics.
In the Central District of California, which includes Los Angeles, 14 defendants were charged for their roles in schemes to defraud health insurance programs. The cases allege health care fraud and kickback schemes involving compounded drugs, home health services, physical therapy, acupuncture, Medicare Part D prescription drugs, diagnostic sleep studies and hospice care.
“Health care fraud schemes such as these threaten the vital trust between a patient and his or her health care provider, undermine the integrity of our health care system and cost all Americans billions of dollars,” said Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown.
The defendants charged locally include Aleksandr Suris and Maxim Sverdlov, co-owners and operators of Royal Care Pharmacy in Los Angeles. Suris and Sverdlov allegedly brought in more than $41.5 million from Medicare and CIGNA. The indictment in charges Suris with two counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and 10 counts of health care fraud, and Sverdlov with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud.
The defendants allegedly submitted fraudulent bills for prescription drugs that were never filled by the pharmacy or were not provided.
In a separate case, Dr. Jeffrey Olsen was charged with illegally prescribing controlled substances such as the opiate oxycodone. The 57-year-old Olsen surrendered to authorities after being indicted by a federal grand jury on 34 counts of illegally prescribing controlled drugs, including oxycodone, and one count of making a false statement on a DEA registration application. Olsen, allegedly sold prescriptions to addicts and drug dealers in exchange for fixed cash fees, without any medical basis for the prescriptions.
In another local case involving a physician, Dr. Thomas S. Powers, and Anthony Paduano, were arrested on healthcare fraud charges that allegedly bilked TRICARE. The indictment alleges that Powers authorized prescriptions for compounded medications for patients he never examined. Under an agreement, Paduano allegedly paid Powers $200 for each prescription. Paduano received approximately $1.2 million for referring the prescriptions to a local pharmacy that billed TRICARE more than $4.8 million and was paid more than $3.1 million.
The additional local defendants are Aniceto Baliton, Dr. Kanagasabai Kanakeswaran, Jamen Oliver Griffith and Damon Glover, and Xiao “Kimi” Gudmundsen.
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