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Ex-California doctor convicted in weight-loss insurance scam

A former Southern California physician was convicted Thursday of falsely billing army and personal insurers $355 million for weight-loss surgical procedures.

Julian Omidi, 53, of West Hollywood and his Beverly Hills-based firm, Surgical procedure Heart Administration LLC, have been convicted by a federal jury of three dozen counts of wire and mail fraud, cash laundering, conspiracy and making false statements associated to well being care issues, based on an announcement from the U.S. lawyer’s workplace.

A second doctor, Dr. Mirali Zarrabi, 59, of Beverly Hills, was acquitted of all expenses, prosecutors mentioned.

Omidi and his family members managed the now-defunct 1-800-GET-THIN enterprise that promoted and carried out lap-band surgical procedures, prosecutors mentioned.

Between 2010 and 2016, Omidi satisfied insurers to pre-approve the surgical procedures by having potential sufferers bear sleep research to find out if that they had sleep apnea, a “co-morbidity” which may justify the process, prosecutors alleged.

Omidi typically had his workers falsify the research outcomes and different info, together with the sufferers’ weights, prosecutors mentioned.

Non-public insurance coverage corporations and Tricare, a well being program for members of the army have been billed for an estimated $355 million and paid out some $70 million for the lap-band procedures and sleep research, prosecutors mentioned.

The protection blamed the fraud on an organization supervisor, Charles Klasky, who pleaded responsible to conspiracy in 2017, testified for the prosecution and awaits sentencing.

Omidi might withstand 20 years in federal jail when he’s sentenced in April.

Omidi’s state medical license was revoked in 2009. In 2014, the federal government seized greater than $110 million in funds and securities from accounts held by Omidi and others allegedly concerned within the scheme.

The federal government is looking for forfeiture of some or all these funds, the U.S. lawyer’s workplace mentioned.

 

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