BEVERLY HILLS—Dr. Ronald Grusd, 72, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for his role in a healthcare fraud scheme on Monday, June 18. Dr. Grusd was fined $250,000, and remanded into custody. His companies, California Imaging Network and Willows Consulting Company, were each required to pay a $500,000 fine, and an additional $15,600 in special assessments.
Grusd is a highly-rated cardiovascular nuclear radiology specialist in Beverly Hills. He was convicted in December 2017 on 39 charges including: conspiracy, and health care fraud, honest services wire and mail fraud. The FBI, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, and the California Department of Insurance all collaborated in investigating Grusd’s businesses.
The charges in this case are the result of Operation Backlash, an extensive FBI-led undercover investigation that revealed a widespread kickback scheme, including attorneys, doctors and medical providers who referred patients for health services in exchange for money. Grusd was indicted by a grand jury in November 2015 along with 17 other individuals.
“Operation Backlash exemplifies the positive impact the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working side by side with our investigative partners, the California Department of Insurance, and the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, can have against those medical service providers who so easily replace honest patient care with greed. The FBI will continue to leverage these partnerships to expose these schemes and hold physicians and allied medical professionals accountable,” said San Diego FBI Special Agent-In-Charge John A. Brown.
Between Grusd’s two Southern California properties, California Imaging Network Medical Group and Willow Consulting Co., more than $100,000 in bribes were paid to other physicians in exchange for referrals of patients with workers’ compensation. Grusd’s practice, California Imaging Network Medical Group, operated clinics throughout California in San Diego, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Fresno, Rialto, Santa Ana, Studio City, Bakersfield, Calexico, East Los Angeles, Lancaster, Victorville and Visalia.
According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of California, Grusd and his companies fraudulently billed insurance companies over $22 million for medical services.
“A patient entrusts his life to his physician. A doctor’s medical decisions should be based on the best interest of the patient, not the highest bidder. The jury has found that Dr. Grusd perverted that sacred relationship by buying and selling patients – oftentimes on a per-body-part basis – for his own personal enrichment,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman.
Anyone with information about healthcare fraud is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or 1-800-225-5324 or the California Department of Insurance’s toll-free fraud hotline, 800-927-4357.