A Southern California doctor has been ordered to serve 15 months in federal prison for his role in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme that defrauded California’s workers’ compensation program over several years.
Dr. Faustino Bernadett, 65, of Rolling Hills, is among 24 people – mostly physicians and healthcare executives – to be charged in the scheme that involved more than $900 million in fraudulent workers’ compensation billing. He is the 15th person convicted in the case. (Rich people trying to get richer off the misfortune of disabled workers).
Bernadett is an anesthesiologist and former owner of Pacific Hospital who prosecutors say became involved in the kickback scheme in 2008, three years after buying the hospital from Michael D. Drobot. Prosecutors say Drobot started the scheme of getting doctors to pay kickbacks for the hospital to refer patients to them. Most of the patients received spinal fusion surgeries funded by the state. (That hurts just thinking about it.)
Bernadett found out about the scheme in 2008 and kept it going until 2010 when he sold the hospital back to Drobot. During those two years, the hospital paid more than $30 million in kickbacks for referrals on about 1,400 spinal surgeries. (Newsflash – he couldn’t keep the scam going.)
Drobot is now serving a five-year prison sentence for paying more than $50 million in bribes to doctors.
Bernadett surrendered his medical license last year. He is scheduled to be sentenced in August. He initially forfeited $1 million to the government and was ordered to pay an additional $60,000 fine. (When will criminals ever learn that fraud doesn’t pay?)
Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from the article, “Former owner of Pacific Hospital gets 15 months in prison for kickback scheme,” published Jan. 17, 2020 in the Long Beach Post.
A former owner of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach was sentenced today to 15 months in federal prison for his part in a kickback scheme that led to more than $900 million in fraudulent billing, mostly to the state’s workers’ compensation program.
Dr. Faustino Bernadett, 65, of Rolling Hills, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton to pay a $60,000 fine. The physician earlier forfeited $1 million to the government.