The office manager at a California imaging center has been sentenced to five years in state prison for his role in a multi-million dollar kickback scheme. Gonzalo Paredes worked at Advanced Radiology, where he and owner Ronald Grusd, MD, paid kickbacks to an area chiropractor in exchange for patient referrals.
According to a prepared statement from the San Diego County District Attorney’s office, Advanced Radiology paid more than $225,000 in kickbacks as a part of the scheme—known as Operation Backlash—and billed insurance companies for more than $5 million.
Grusd, meanwhile, has already been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for his role.
“Unwitting patients were treated simply as opportunities for criminals to bill insurance companies by these defendants,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in the statement. “Kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals are illegal because they influence and cloud a doctor’s judgement. The relationship between a doctor and patient should be about the patient’s health and not the doctor’s wealth.”
“We have closed this chapter on the largest healthcare fraud case in San Diego’s history thanks to the hard work of our investigators and the District Attorney’s Office,” Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said in the same statement. “Paredes will be held accountable for his crimes, and should serve as a warning to others that we will do everything within our power to bring justice to those who put cash before patient care.”