Medical instruments typically used during surgery. Photo from Pixabay
Medical instruments typically used during surgery. Photo from Pixabay.

The Medical Board of California is revoking the license of a Rancho Mirage plastic surgeon who pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from a multimillion-dollar insurance fraud scheme and is currently a fugitive.

Dr. David Morrow, 73, and his 65-year-old wife, Linda, were accused of billing health insurance companies “tens of millions of dollars” for surgeries that were unnecessary or never performed on patients at the Morrow Institute in Rancho Mirage. They have been missing since May, when federal authorities say the two failed to report to court. The couple also sold their $9.45 million home in Beverly Hills before going on the lam, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

While charges are still pending against his wife, Morrow pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and filing a false tax return and was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The Medical Board of California announced that effective Jan. 12, Morrow’s license will be revoked.

Federal prosecutors say the Morrows submitted bills for more than $80 million for surgeries performed at their clinic, many of which were cosmetic, but billed as “medically necessary.”

The indictment alleged that test results and medical records were fabricated so that “tummy tucks” were billed as hernia repair or abdominal reconstruction surgeries, rhinoplasties were billed as deviated septum repair surgeries, and breast lifts and augmentations were billed as tuberous breast deformity.

In addition, some patients who underwent multiple surgeries “suffered severe medical complications,” according to the indictment.

“This defendant was a successful doctor who owned a medical clinic and multiple valuable residences, yet he engaged in a scheme designed to steal tens of millions of dollars from insurance companies by tricking them into paying for cosmetic surgery,” Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown alleged shortly after Morrow’s sentencing in September. “After admitting guilt, he went on the lam in the hopes of avoiding the punishment that was sure to come. When he is taken into custody — and he will definitely be captured — he will serve the lengthy sentence he deserves as a result of his greed and fraud.”

Anyone with information regarding the Morrows’ whereabouts was asked to contact the FBI at (310) 477-6565.

–City News Service

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