Historical Hysterics: Did You Hear About the Doctor Who Robbed a Bank?

It was just over 10 years ago in a federal court when a lab coat loon who lived in Montana confessed that well, yeah, he really did rob that bank in Rexburg Idaho. But they had it all wrong about the homicide of his elderly patient. It wasn’t like he actually . . . you know . . . murdered her.

James DriscollIt seems that Doctor James Bischoff was arrested – that is, the first time – for injecting an elderly woman, Kathryn Dvarishkis, who was under his care at Madison Valley Hospital in Ennis, Montana, with narcotics to speed up her death. She was very ill and he was doing her a favor. That little pickle, which occurred back in the year 2000, was considered a major boo-boo by law enforcement.

Then, before the trial for the lady’s death was even over, and while he was out on bail, the daffy doc decided it would be a good idea to hold up the U.S. Bank branch in Rexburg. So he drove across state lines and did just that. That happened on March 16, 2005, when the doc walked into the bank armed with two handguns and wearing ski goggles and demanded serious cash.

A dorky physician in a bank with ski goggles and a gun in each fist. Now there’s a visual.

But it took a while before they figured out who the robber-doc really was. And during that time his trial continued – not only for the killing of his 85-year-old patient, but for illegally possessing and using the drugs in question. Eventually, in September, 2005, Bischoff confessed to the lesser crime of Negligent Homicide and 2 felony drug charges. The drug charges involved him fraudulently obtaining thousands of doses of prescription amphetamines for himself by using other people’s names.

Quite the patient care professional.

In the end, bad-boy Bischoff was sentenced in September, 2005 by District Judge Brent Moss, to a term of 5-20 years in prison for robbing a bank in Idaho, and 2 years for killing his patient.

Let’s say that again slowly. The prosecution recommended the death penalty for deliberately killing his patient. He got 2 years for killing a patient. Go figure.

At the sentencing when he was allowed to speak, Bischoff apologized for robbing the bank.

How Many Immigrant MDs Are Sitting in U.S. Prisons? The Numbers are Staggering

In Frankfort Kentucky last week still another immigrant physician was convicted of insurance fraud and will spend the next years 5 years in state prison. 

 

Dr Ezekiel Akande

I didn’t do the work, but I deserve to get paid anyway. After all, I’m a doctor

According to State Attorney General Andy Beshear,  Doctor Ezekiel O. Akande, a resident of Somerset, was sentenced last week by Pulaski Circuit Court Judge David A. Tapp. Akande was found guilty in a jury trial in March for Medicaid Fraud and Theft, of more than $10,000. 

Investigators discovered that Akande, age 58, operated a clinic called the  Somerset Regional Pain Center. He was arrested and went to trial for illegally and routinely billing the Kentucky Medicaid program for smokers treatment sessions that he never performed. In addition to his prison sentence, was also ordered to repay the $10,000 he stole.

Akande immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria after attending medical school at the University of Ibadan.

Here’s more:

http://www.somerset-kentucky.com/news/pain-clinic-doc-faces-federal-charges/article_76987e1e-fd46-11e6-9a91-37e7eb242119.html

 

Another Week: Another Ugly Medical Scam. How Embarrassed is Healthcare? Not as Much as They Should be

These so-called medical professionals played with patients’ lives, buying and selling them for profit without regard to patient safety. Patients have the right to expect treatment decisions by health care professionals are based on medical need and not unadulterated greed. The magnitude of this alleged crime is an affront to ethical medical professionals.” (Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner)

The California State Insurance Commissioner’s office has joined the Orange County’s chief prosecutor in bringing what appears to be a monster medical fraud case against at least 21 physicians and 5 others.

 

Christopher and Tanya King

Christopher and Tanya King, back when the money was rolling in

The case involves a cash kick-back scam of what may be as much as $40,000,000 stolen from at least 27 insurance carriers, and more than 13,000 patients billed by Monarch Medical Group, One Source Laboratories and King Medical Management.

Investigators are focusing on the key players in the scheme – Christopher King, age 38 and his wife Tanya, age 37 of Beverly Hills, as well as the operators of Steven’s Pharmacy in Costa Mesa – Charles Bonner and Mervyn Miller, who are residents of Irvine.

Tanya King faces more than 100 years in prison. The two pharmacists could get 28 years and the doctors each face 25 year terms. Christopher King’s possible sentence, if convicted, was not announced.

Tony Rackaukas

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackaukas addresses the media regarding the arrests

Prosecutors believe they can prove that the Kings were at the center of a long-running insurance fraud ring that operated between 2011-2015, recruiting unethical physicians and pharmacists. The evidence shows that the scam involved unnecessary treatments of Workers Compensation insurance patients. The Kings are also believed to have conspired with Steven’s Pharmacy owners to sell ointments and creams that offered no medical benefit whatsoever.

We must have ethical doctors who abide by their Hippocratic Oath to ‘do no harm.’ The intent of many of the laws surrounding the insurance industry is to keep the three Ps–physician, patients and profit—separate. We have a track record of putting these types of fraudsters behind bars for a long time and we intend to do just that again.”(Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas)

The California State Department of Insurance is leading the investigation, with assistance of the Orange County DA’s Bureau of Investigation, National Insurance Crime Bureau and the FBI.

Is YOUR doctor being investigated in this case?

  • Dr. Duke Ahn, 49, Los Alamitos
  • Dr. John Casey Jr., 65, Modesto
  • Dr. Robert E. Caton, 65, Modesto
  • Dr. Chris Chen, 55, Pleasanton
  • Dr. Jonathan Cohen, 57, Modesto
  • Dr. Parvez Fatteh, 46, Pleasanton
  • Dr. Robert Fenton, 68, Ranchos Palos Verdes
  • Dr. Michael Henry, 61, Granite Bay
  • Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, 40, Danville
  • Dr. Mannie Joel, 67, Pleasanton
  • Dr. Paul Kaplan, 76, Folsom
  • Dr. Howard Oliver, 70, Long Beach
  • Dr. Ismael Geli Silva, 38, Huntington Beach
  • Dr. Ismael Silva, 63, Newport Coast
  • Dr. Jerome Robson, 68, Modesto
  • Dr. Eric Schmidt, 63, Santa Rosa
  • Dr. Eduardo T. Lin I, 55, Pleasanton
  • Dr. Paul A. Stanton, 54, Victorville
  • Dr. William Pistel, 53, Modesto
  • Dr. Kevin Park, 49, Buena Park
  • Dr. Kourosh Shamlou, 49, Newport Coast

Here’s another look:

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-medical-kickbacks-charges-20170420-story.html

One Doctor to Her Colleagues: ‘Don’t Give in to Drug Cartel Bribery’

‘Life destroyed’: A physician warns other physicians about accepting money from drug and medical device manufacturers

A New York MD who is now a convicted felon, is warning other doctors about the dangers of accepting bribes from sales reps for drugs and medical devices.

Dr Michele MartinhoDoctor Michele Martinho, who faces the possibility of jail time and the loss of her medical license when she is sentenced, pleaded guilty in 2014 to one count of accepting a bribe. This week she spoke to a small audience at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, telling her story as a warning to future doctors, according to The Washington Post.

While she learned about medicine, Martinho says medical school did not prepare her for the business of medicine.

Martinho is one of more than 25 doctors who have pleaded guilty in a $200,000,000 health fraud scheme operated by the now-defunct blood-testing company Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services in New Jersey. She accepted monthly payments of $5,000 to refer patients to the lab for blood tests and other screenings, the newspaper said.

She told students her life has been “destroyed,” and she advised them to never accept anything from drug, device and other representatives who parade through doctors’ offices and to consult an attorney who specializes in medical practice with any questions.

Martinho accepted $155,000 in monthly envelopes stuffed full of cash. She has now acknowledged she realized she was evading tax laws when she took the money. But she says she did not understand that the referral itself was considered a kickback.

Really? She spent 10 years in college and she didn’t know what ‘accepting a bribe’ meant?

Doctor Martinho now spends her time speaking at healthcare and ethics institutions. She is hoping her efforts of warning other doctors of the traps set by drug cartels and medical device makers, will persuade the judge to reduce her punishment at her sentencing hearing.

(We are indebted to investigative reporter Joanne Finnigan, who writes for FierceHealthcare, for her reporting on this little-known issue)

Here’s another look at the case:

New Jersey doctor, 79, faces jail after conviction in $200M fraud case

Las Vegas ‘Pain Doctor’ May be the Oldest Drug-Dealer on the Planet

 

Doctor Henri Wetselaar

So what do you do when you reach your 10th decade? Why, become a drug pusher. Sure beats bingo with the old folks. (photo by Las Vegas Review-Journal)

A 93-year-old Nevada physician has been found guilty of serious drug-dealing charges that could get him a prison term that would keep him behind bars until he is 123. 

Not very damn likely he’ll get any time at all.

Doctor Henri Wetselaar was convicted in Federal Court in Las Vegas on March 23 on all 11 Narcotic felonies, as well as Money Laundering charges, in case that began when he was arrested in 2011, along with his medical assistant and a Las Vegas pharmacist.
________________

The medical assistant who worked in Wetselaar’s clinic, David Litwin,  was convicted on 8 felony drug charges in the narcotic conspiracy scheme. The case of the pharmacist, Jason Smith,  ended in a hung jury, and he will face a new trial next month.

TOETAG

Screwy ‘healthcare’ – and screwball practitioners – probably kill more people than disease. But let’s all keep pretending it isn’t happening

Wetselaar, a pain specialist, immigrated from Holland  and actually served in the military during World War II. During the trial federal prosecutors were able to prove that he  had made nearly 3 dozen cash deposits totaling $260,000 in less than a year, money raked in from drug sales, especially hydrocodone, Xanax and Soma. Investigators discovered the daffy doc would charge drug dealers and addicts up to $400 for each prescription.

Wetselaar sits behind bars in Las Vegas until his sentencing in June. He could get 30 years in prison. 

Secret Hospital Inspections to Finally See the Light of Day? Don’t Hold Your Breath

The U.S. government is considering requiring that hospital inspection details be available to the public. Until that happens, what really goes on behind closed doors is keep quite secret.  When it comes to your local hospital, as of now, you have no right to know who is dying . . . or why.

It appears that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is pushing to mandate a new level of transparency, when it comes to hospital dangers discovered by health inspection findings. Private health accreditation companies actually perform 90% of all U.S. hospitals and clinics assessments. That healthcare accreditors might ever release their findings to the public would be a remarkably refreshing change from the status quo.

Under this law – a law which may not get passed at all – U.S. citizens could get a look at reports which are now kept secret, about dangerous medical errors, patient misidentification and surgical errors, that kill and/or seriously injure 400-600 patients each day. 

Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services studies at least some of the inspection results gathered by private organizations. In effect, they inspect the inspections.  And last year CMS discovered that the privately funded inspection companies often completely missed serious in-hospital “danger areas” that should have been identified.

In the year 2014, CMS assessed, for example, 102 hospitals which had been recently inspected. What they discovered was stunning: out of 41 serious danger areas, 39 were totally missed by the accrediting inspector teams. This discrepancy  “raises serious concerns regarding the accrediting companies ability to appropriately identify and cite health and safety deficiencies” during inspections,” CMS officials wrote when they released draft regulations this week.

Healthcare facilities are required to meet minimum standards, which are called Medicare Conditions of Participation, in order to qualify for taxpayer funding. Although it almost never happens, hospitals and clinics can lose federal Medicare reimbursement for services and be forced to close. One jarring example was the closing of the King/Drew Trauma Center in Los Angeles in 2005.

Here’s the story:

http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-kingdrew23sep23-story.html

Here is the CMS website.