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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2010 Press Release Index
    Release No. 10-036

    February 22, 2010

    DOCTOR WHO PLEADED GUILTY TO HEALTH CARE FRAUD FOR
    GIVING AIDS AND HIV PATIENTS DILUTED MEDICATIONS
    SENTENCED TO 15 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON

    SANTA ANA, California – A well-known AIDS doctor who pleaded guilty to federal health care fraud charges for “subdosing” patients by administering doses of medicine that contained less than the prescribed amount of medication that the patients were supposed to receive was sentenced this afternoon to 15 months in federal prison.

    Dr. George Steven Kooshian, 59, of La Quinta, was sentenced by United States District Judge Alicemarie H. Stotler. In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Stotler ordered Kooshian to pay $660,955 in restitution to 18 insurance companies for 21 patients who were subdosed.

    Kooshian – who operated clinics under the names Valley View Internal Medicine Group at two locations in Garden Grove and Ocean View Internal Medicine Group in Laguna Beach and Long Beach – pleaded guilty one year ago to two counts of health care fraud and two counts of making false statements relating to health care matters.

    Kooshian specifically admitted that he and his assistant improperly billed patients’ health insurance companies for medications used to treat problems relating to AIDS, HIV and hepatitis. The medications included Epogen, which is used to treat anemia; Interferon, which is used to treat Kaposi's sarcoma; and Immunogammaglobulin, which is used to treat peripheral neuropathy or numbness of the extremities. The false billings in this case included bills submitted for a full dose of the medication when the patient was subdosed - sometimes receiving only saline, continuing to bill for administering the medication when the patient was no longer taking it, and billing as if the medication had been administered in the office by medical personnel when the patient had been self-injecting the medication at home.

    A co-defendant, Virgil Opinion, 50, of Anaheim, who was Kooshian’s assistant for more than 10 years, pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme and in September was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay the restitution jointly with Kooshian.

    The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.

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    Release No. 10-036

    Return to the 2010 Press Release Index