By Aaron Blevins, 9/27/2012
A Los Angeles physician assistant who stole the identities of doctors to write medically unnecessary prescriptions for expensive durable medical equipment (DME) and diagnostic tests was sentenced on Sept. 18 to serve 72 months in prison in connection with a $18.9 million Medicare fraud scheme.
In addition to his prison term, David James Garrison, 50, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $24,935 in restitution, jointly with his convicted co-defendants.
In June 2012, after a two-week trial, a federal jury found Garrison guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, six counts of health care fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Evidence showed that Garrison worked at fraudulent medical clinics that operated as prescription mills and trafficked in fraudulent prescriptions and orders for medically unnecessary DME and diagnostic tests that were used by fraudulent supply companies and medical testing facilities to defraud Medicare. Garrison wrote the prescriptions and ordered the tests on behalf of doctors who did not authorize him to do so.
Between March 2007 and September 2008, Garrison’s co-conspirator Edward Aslanyan and others owned and operated several Los Angeles medical clinics established for the sole purpose of defrauding Medicare. Aslanyan and others hired street-level patient recruiters to find Medicare beneficiaries willing to provide the recruiters with their Medicare billing information in exchange for expensive, high-end power wheelchairs and other DME, which the patient recruiters told the beneficiaries they would receive for free. As a result of this fraud scheme, Garrison and his co-conspirators submitted over $18.9 million in false claims to Medicare and received $10.7 million on those claims.