Clinic Owners Accused of Bilking Millions from Public Health Programs, Failing to Pay Taxes
The owners of a West Hollywood clinic are due to be arraigned for allegedly billing state and federal health programs up to $50 million in services not rendered or, in some cases, services purportedly rendered to dead patients, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Suehiro of the Fraud Interdiction Program said Alla Chernov, 48, and Boris Sokol, 50, of Pacific Palisades are charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit a crime with the allegation that in the commission of the offense the defendants took more than $3.2 million.
Chernov and Sokol, who were arrested by our agents and the Department of Justice, are expected to be arraigned in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Bail was recommended at $15 million each.
The defendants additionally were charged with one count each of grand theft of personal property for unlawfully taking money from Medi-Cal and Medicare. Chernov and Sokol, who are married, were collectively charged with seven counts of allegedly filing false resident and corporation income tax returns.
Chernov and Sokol were allegedly involved in a scheme over a five-year period, beginning in 2001, whereby they billed Medi-Cal and Medicare for medical treatment and diagnostic services that were not rendered.
An eight-year, multi-agency investigation further revealed that the defendants billed for patients who were seen at other medical facilities and, in some cases, for people who had died long before they purportedly received care at the defendants’ clinic.
Prosecutors allege that Chernov and Sokol orchestrated a complex conspiracy that involved medical doctors and bribes given to Medicare workers to obtain multiple provider numbers for doctors who saw no patients but merely initialed files.
The investigation revealed that some of the doctors were out of the country or were doing out-of-state internships when they allegedly supervised physician’s assistants.
A search warrant executed in 2004 additionally revealed that the clinic had predated medical records two weeks into the future complete with patients’ vital signs and pulse rates. Medicare was billed for services allegedly rendered while the clinic was closed down after the search warrant.
The defendants also are accused of filing false tax returns between 2003 and 2005 for their personal and corporate income in excess of $14.9 million.
The investigation was conducted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the California Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and us.
If convicted as charged, Chernov and Sokol each face seven years in prison.