SANTA ANA (AP) — Prosecutors in California announced charges Thursday against more than two dozen doctors, pharmacists and medical business owners in a multimillion dollar scheme to bilk workers compensation insurance by prescribing unnecessary treatments and tests.
Tanya Moreland King, 37, and her husband Christopher King, 38, of Beverly Hills owned a trio of medical billing and management companies behind the conspiracy that paid out $23 million to defendants, the Orange County district attorney’s office said in a statement.
The couple partnered with a compound pharmacy and doctors to prescribe unnecessary creams to patients and overbill insurers, prosecutors said. Authorities said the companies also overbilled for pain medication and ordered unnecessary urine tests.
More than 13,000 patients and more than two dozen insurance carriers were affected by the schemes between 2011 and 2015, authorities said in a statement.
“Patients have the right to expect treatment decisions by health care professionals are based on medical need and not unadulterated greed,” California’s Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement. “The magnitude of this alleged crime is an affront to ethical medical professionals.”
A call seeking comment from the Kings rang unanswered. Messages were also left for the couple’s attorneys.
Orange County prosecutors charged the Kings and 21 doctors, a physician’s assistant and two pharmacists with conspiracy to commit medical insurance fraud and other charges.
Authorities said the companies Monarch Medical Group Inc., King Medical Management Inc. and One Source Laboratories Inc. were behind the fraud.
In one of the schemes, authorities said a pharmacy in the Orange County city of Costa Mesa, California made compound creams with unknown effects that doctors agreed to prescribe to patients in exchange for a flat payment from the Kings or a share in the profits.
Workers’ compensation insurance carriers were billed more than ten times the amount the Kings paid for the transdermal creams, authorities said.