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Work comp fraud indictment snares 15 medical workers

More than a dozen health care workers were indicted by an Orange County grand jury in connection with criminal charges stemming from an alleged workers’ compensation fraud scheme. Prosecutors believe that 15 people, including pharmacists, physicians and the head of a workers’ compensation claim management firm all played a part in orchestrating a scheme of bribes and kickbacks.

Through the indictments, prosecutors believe that Landmark Medical Management hired pharmacists to create a pain relief cream and bribed doctors and chiropractors to prescribe it to patients, even if they created falsified workers’ compensation claims in order to help patients pay for it. Overall, prosecutors contend that nearly $25 million in kickbacks were paid out to distribute what is believed to be a dangerous product. 

Prosecutors are also charging a pharmacist and a physician with involuntary manslaughter for their alleged roles in allowing the pain cream to be ingested by a five-month-old boy who later died.

Workers’ compensation fraud can be a drain on the system and could prevent genuinely injured people from receiving needed benefits. Through a number of our posts, we have highlighted how diligently prosecutors pursue these actions. Because of how frequently this can occur, employers should be careful in reviewing claims for benefits submitted by allegedly injured workers.

In the meantime, an attorney for the work comp management company indicated that his client has done nothing wrong and looks forward to exonerating the pharmacists that developed the cream. However, it remains to be seen whether the civil suits stemming from the infant’s death will be resolved so quickly.

Source: ABC “15 Medical workers indicted in $25 million scheme,” Tami Abdollah, June 24, 2014

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