San Fernando Valley Doctor Pleads Guilty in Multi-Million-Dollar Medicare Fraud Case Involving Treatments Never Performed
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 24, 2013|
LOS ANGELES—A medical doctor who owns a clinic in the Winnetka district of the San Fernando Valley pleaded guilty today to federal fraud charges for bilking Medicare out of more than $3 million by submitting bills for procedures never performed, sometimes involving patients he never met.
Pezhman Ebrahimzadeh, who uses the name “Pez Abrahams,” 50, of Calabasas, pleaded guilty today to one count of health care fraud before United States District Judge George H. Wu.
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 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. On at least one occasion, Ebrahimzadeh admitted in court today, he billed Medicare for performing these procedures, even though the purported patient was dead.
Between September 2008 and April 2012, Ebrahimzadeh submitted $7.5 million in bogus claims, and Medicare paid just over $3 million.
Judge Wu is scheduled to sentence Ebrahimzadeh on May 20. At sentencing, Ebrahimzadeh faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. The plea agreement contemplates a sentence of approximately four to five years, but Judge Wu will make the final determination as to the actual sentence that will be imposed in this case. In the plea agreement, Ebrahimzadeh agreed to repay the millions of dollars he stole from Medicare.
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.