Corporate Compliance

Jury convicts LA physician assistant in $18.9 million Medicare fraud scheme

Compliance Monitor, June 13, 2012

A jury convicted David James Garrison, 50, of Los Angeles, of conspiracy, healthcare fraud and aggravated identity theft charges for his role in an $18.9 million Medicare fraud scheme, according to a June 4 Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.

Garrison stole the identities of physicians to write prescriptions for medically unnecessary durable medical equipment (DME) and diagnostic tests at the fraudulent clinics between March 2007 and September 2008, according to the DOJ.

Garrison and his coconspirators owned and operated several Los Angeles medical clinics established for the sole purpose of defrauding Medicare. They paid kickbacks to patient recruiters to find Medicare beneficiaries who were willing to sell their Medicare billing information. Garrison wrote prescriptions for power wheelchairs, which the beneficiaries did not need and did not use, according to the DOJ.

After Garrison wrote prescriptions for power wheelchairs, his coconspirators sold them to the owners and operators of approximately 50 fraudulent DME supply companies, which used them to submit fraudulent power wheelchair claims to Medicare.

Garrison also ordered the same medically unnecessary diagnostic tests for every Medicare beneficiary, including tests for sleep studies, ultrasounds, and nerve conduction studies. Fraudulent diagnostic testing companies then used the prescriptions to bill Medicare and paid kickbacks to Edward Aslanyan, one of Garrison’s coconspirators.

Garrison faces a maximum penalty of 72 years in prison and a $2 million fine.

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