LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Prosecutors told a Los Angeles jury on Wednesday that operators of the now-defunct 1-800-GET-THIN ad campaign have conducted sleep research to persuade insurance companies to pay tens of millions of dollars in weight. – loss surgery, but the defense countered that the defendants were innocent victims of a lie who regularly falsified test results.

Julian Omid, a 53-year-old former weight loss doctor from West Hollywood, and Dr. Miral Ar Arrab, a 59-year-old from Burly Hills, have been charged with multiple counts of mail, wire fraud, false statements, money laundering, and money laundering. From THIN’s Lap. -2010 From May 2016 Surgery նի sleep study programs for March.

The Lap-Band weight loss surgery business has been widely advertised on billboards, radio and television on the Southern California Highway, attracting people who desperately wanted to lose weight. But before insurance companies could approve the $ 100,000 surgery in advance, prospective patients would have to show that they suffer from certain ailments, including sleep apnea.

Assistant Attorney General Ali Mogaddas said in his opening remarks at a Los Angeles federal court that Omid had “created a process” that “turned patients into profits” by directing employees to “misdiagnose patients with sleep disorders.”

Og Arabi allowed his e-signature to be used by GET THIN to find out that he had reviewed the fake sleep study, even though he knew the reports were changing, according to Moghadas. The doctor also allegedly demanded to be paid for the use of his electronic signature on hundreds of prescriptions for sleep apnea.

Insurance companies paid $ 14,000-17,000 for each sleep study charged by the defendants, Mogaddas said.

However, attorney Michael Schachter said Omid ևar’s Arab was in fact a victim of a sleep study by Charles Klask, who “posed as a sleep medicine expert” to trick Omid into letting him oversee his sleep study program. .

It was Klaski, who was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to federal conspiracy, who hired an Arab to falsify the results of a sleep apnea test.

“You will not hear a single witness say that Julian Julian Omid told them to change the test results,” the lawyer said, promising that the prosecution would not be able to prove his case during the months-long trial.

“Klaski came at the right time and” took over “Omidy’s program” without any previous experience, “Shakhtar said.

The indictment alleges the management of the surgery center, which is overseen by Omidi and his brother-in-law. Omidi’s mother, Cindy, was sentenced to probation in 2015 after she was convicted of violating anti-money laundering laws.

Lap-Band is a silicone ring that is surgically placed around the stomach to prevent overeating.

Prosecutors allege that patients suffered as a result of the alleged fraud scheme when they underwent unnecessary medical procedures, and that insurance providers lost millions of dollars after receiving fraudulent accounts.

Omid, a physician whose license was revoked in 2009, was partly in charge of the GET THIN network of companies, which focused on selectively performing Lap-Band weight loss surgeries.

According to Moghadas, Omid has established procedures that require prospective patients, even those covered by insured programs that he knew would never be covered by Lap-Band surgery, to have at least one sleep study, and staff are offered commissions to conduct the study.

“He decided that every patient’s sleep test would be performed,” the prosecutor said, adding that the alleged scheme “put patients in the door with false promises, gave them false hope, and accused their insurance companies of making false claims.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office claims that when patients have had sleep tests, often without any indication that any doctor has ever determined that the study is medically necessary. or severe sleep apnea, because they suffered from severe daytime sleepiness.

Omid then forced the false reports to be used in defense of GET THIN Lap-Band Surgery, according to the indictment.

Supposedly, relying on false sleep studies as well as other false information, including patients’ height and weight, insurance companies have allowed to pay for some Lap-Band surgeries. According to the indictment, GET THIN received at least $ 38 million for Lap-Band procedures.

Even if the insurance company did not authorize the surgery, GET THIN could still charge an average of $ 15,000 per sleep study, according to the indictment. Insurance premiums were credited to GET THIN-linked bank accounts, prosecutors said.

Benefit plans that have allegedly suffered from billing fraud include TriCare, a uniformed service for retirees, health care providers around the world, their families, and various private insurance companies.

If convicted, Omidi could face up to 20 years in prison for each of the embezzlement charges in the indictment.

The trial may take two or three months. The government has nearly 40 witnesses whom it plans to call, including two co-defendants, court papers show. According to the prosecution’s memorandum, Omidi’s lawyers provided a list of 96 witnesses, including a “dead GET THIN patient.”

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