Over two dozen doctors, pharmacists charged in kickback scheme

More than two dozen doctors, pharmacists, and business owners and a Beverly Hills couple were charged in an alleged $40-million kickback scheme, CBS Los Angeles reported.

According to prosecutors Tanya Moreland King, 37, and her husband Christopher King, 38, the owners of medical billing and medical management companies Monarch Medical Group, Inc, King Medical Management, Inc and One Source Laboratories, Inc, operated a complex insurance fraud scheme in which, doctors and pharmacists prescribed unnecessary treatment for workers' compensation insurance patients.

Also accused in the conspiracy are two Irvine pharmacists, Charles Bonner, 56, and Mervyn Miller, 66, who are alleged to have conspired with the Kings by selling more than $1 million in compound creams that were not federally approved nor had any known medical benefits.

Over 13,000 patients and at least 27 insurance carriers statewide were victims in the scheme, which, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office took place between 2011 to 2015 and involved billing for unnecessary creams, tests, and treatments to maximise profits.

The prosecutors said the Kings worked with pharmacist and co-defendant Charles Bonner, owner of Stevens Pharmacy in Costa Mesa, to manufacture a variety of creams with unknown effects that were not approved by the FDA.

The assorted creams which ranged in price from $15 to $40 per tube, were then billed to patients' workers' compensation insurance carriers for between $250 and $700 dollars per tube.

"Patients have the right to expect treatment decisions by health care professionals are based on medical need and not unadulterated greed," California's insurance commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement. "The magnitude of this alleged crime is an affront to ethical medical professionals."