San Fernando Valley Doctor Who Pled Guilty in $3 Million Medicare Fraud Case Sentenced to More Than Three Years in Federal Prison
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 16, 2013|
LOS ANGELES—A medical doctor who owns a cosmetic medicine clinic in the Winnetka district of the San Fernando Valley has been sentenced to 42 months in federal prison for bilking Medicare out of more than $3 million by submitting bills for procedures he never performed.
Pezhman Ebrahimzadeh, who uses the name “Pez Abrahams,” 50, of Calabasas, received the three-and-a-half-year sentence yesterday from United States District Judge George H. Wu.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Wu ordered Ebrahimzadeh to pay $3,184,000 in restitution, most of which is to be paid to the Medicare program.
Ebrahimzadeh owns the Winnetka Medical Group, a cosmetic health care clinic that operates under the name Health & Beauty Clinic. At his clinic, Ebrahimzadeh provides cosmetic treatments that involve radiofrequency lasers and liposuction. As some of his patients were Medicare beneficiaries, Ebrahimzadeh obtained their beneficiary information, which was used to bill Medicare for procedures he did not perform.
Ebrahimzadeh also obtained beneficiary information for patients he never met or treated, and he used that information to submit other fraudulent bills to Medicare.
In relation to the bogus bills submitted to Medicare, Ebrahimzadeh typically claimed he had performed three expensive procedures: revascularization, ablation of a bone tumor, or the placement of a radiotherapy catheter in a breast. Ebrahimzadeh made these claims even though he lacked the equipment needed to perform revascularizations or the placement of radiotherapy catheters.
Ebrahimzadeh’s “conduct was so brazen that he billed Medicare for purportedly performing dozens of procedures on patients who were dead,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum to the court. “For one such patient, defendant billed Medicare for seven separate high-paying procedures. [Ebrahimzadeh] also altered medical records in an attempt to conceal his fraudulent conduct. In addition to defrauding Medicare, defendant billed private insurance carriers for similar procedures, some of which he claimed he performed on himself.”
Between September 2008 and April 2012, Ebrahimzadeh submitted $7.5 million in bogus claims, and Medicare paid just over $3 million.
Ebrahimzadeh pleaded guilty in January to one count of health care fraud.
In the sentencing memo, prosecutors noted that Ebrahimzadeh was arrested last month on suspicion of sexually assaulting a patient during a physical examination.
The case against Ebrahimzadeh was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse.