California prosecutors have charged 15 people, including a doctor, following a 5-year investigation. The charges against them involve the fraudulent billing of around $150 million from insurers. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office is calling it one of the biggest insurance fraud scams the state has ever seen.
The charges involve two indictments in which a number of individuals, including attorneys, referred patients to the medical clinics that were run by Munir Uwaydah, a physician. In exchange, these individuals were paid upwards of $15,000 a month. Uwaydah documented evaluations at these clinics that never actually happened and his staff justified surgeries that were performed by falsifying records. Additionally, these surgeries were performed by a physician’s assistant who had never attended medical school. Nor were any of the surgeries overseen by an actual surgeon. As many as two dozen patients that had these surgeries performed on them now have lasting scars—and many of these patients have had to undergo additional surgical procedures in order to repair damage caused by the initial surgeries.
Those charged in the case, including Uwaydah, are facing 132 felony charges. Uwaydah is currently awaiting extradition in Germany while 11 of the other individuals charged have plead not guilty to the charges. The felony charges include aggravated mayhem and capping, insurance fraud and conspiracy. One of the physicians working for Uwaydah, David Johnson, has been charged with overbilling insurance companies for medical exams that were never performed as well as for prescription drugs. Several others have been charged for falsifying documents that are related to the case.
Uwaydah had his license cancelled in 2013 due to a case brought against him by the California Medical Board back in 2009. He has also been charged in a separate indictment for illegal patient referrals, filing false tax returns, laundering money and for conspiring to commit insurance fraud. Uwaydah and 11 of the others that have been charged could face life in prison if they are convicted.
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