SANTA MONICA—Several medical professionals who practiced in prominent areas throughout Los Angeles County have been accused of organizing schemes to defraud insurance companies including Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The charges announced on Wednesday, September 17, allege that the medical providers participated in schemes that fraudulently sought after $150 million. The defendants ordered tests and prescriptions that were either unnecessary or were not provided to health plan beneficiaries. Multiple fraud charges have been filed against the following:
Dr. Ronald Weaver, 70, of Pacific Palisades; Sara Soulati, 49, of Santa Monica; Dr. John Weaver, 75, of Alhambra; Dr. Ronald Carlish, 78, of Pacific Palisades; Dr. Howard Elkin, 68, of Whittier; Dr. Wolfgang Scheele, 79, of Los Angeles; and Dr. Nagesh Shetty, 74 of Huntington Beach.
Anesthesiologist, Amir Friedman, 54, who resides in the city of Calabasas was charged for his alleged participation in a conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud. He was also charged for Travel Act violations involving approximately $800,000 in kickbacks for compounded pharmaceutical drugs involving New Age Pharmaceuticals, Inc., located in Beverly Hills.
A medical team that includes Noem Sarkisyan, 63, of North Hollywood, Lorraine Watson, 56, from Valley Village, and Edmond Sarkisyan, 40, from North Hollywood were charged for their alleged participation in a scheme to defraud the Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment (Family PACT) program administered by Medi-Cal that was approximately worth $10 million. They submitted fraudulent claims for family planning services, testing and prescriptions for non-existent patients through Los Angeles Community Clinic and associated diagnostic testing laboratories and pharmacies.
Timothy B. DeFrancesca, who is the Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General stated in a press release, “Sticking taxpayers with a bill for unnecessary healthcare services will never be tolerated. Working closely with our law enforcement partners, our agency will tirelessly pursue physicians and others who threaten the integrity of Federal healthcare programs.”
Paul D. Delacourt the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division stated, “Health care fraud schemes cheat American taxpayers and healthcare programs out of millions of dollars. With the assistance of the public, the FBI and partner agencies will continue to combat this unscrupulous criminal activity that seeks to financially exploit our healthcare system.”