Three more defendants have pleaded guilty in connection with an alleged nearly $600 million healthcare fraud scheme involving kickbacks for unnecessary spinal surgeries.
The three join six other defendants accused in the scheme, dubbed “Operation Spinal Cap,” that involved referrals of thousands of patients for spinal surgeries at Pacific Hospital in Long Beach that led to nearly $600 million in fraudulent bills over eight years, according to federal prosecutors.
The three new cases are against:
–Michael R. Drobot, 44, of Newport Beach, son of Pacific Hospital owner Michael D. Drobot, pleaded guilty March 4 to conspiracy and taking kickbacks, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 18.
–Michael E. Barri, 48, of San Clemente, a chiropractor who owned Tri- Star medical Group and Jojaso Management Company, pleaded guilty March 11 to conspiracy and admitted he took illegal payments for referring patients to Pacific Hospital from 2009 through October 2013, according to prosecutors.
Barri took $158,555 in kickbacks for referring a dozen patients to Pacific Hospital for back surgeries, prosecutors said. Insurance companies were billed about $3.9 million for the procedures.He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 13, 2017.
–Linda Martin, 66, of Clovis, was a marketer for the hospital who got medical professionals to make referrals in exchange for kickbacks, prosecutors said. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy in May and is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 19.
The six other defendants have also pleaded guilty, prosecutors said. The three new pleas were entered Friday.
–City News Service
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