Spinal Surgeon Fraudster Gets 30 Months for Kickback Scheme

Nancy Grover

Santa Ana, CA (WorkersCompenstion.com) The orthopedic surgeon infamous for an alleged long-term scheme for his role in taking kickbacks in exchange for performing spinal surgeries has been sentenced to two and a half years behind bars. The U.S. District Attorney’s Office says in total, the plan led to more than $580 million in fake bills submitted, mainly to the California workers’ compensation system.

Daniel Capen, MD was also ordered to forfeit $5 million to the U.S. and pay a $50,000 fine. The 70-year-old had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and soliciting and receiving kickbacks for healthcare referral.

“The kickback scheme centered on Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, which specialized in surgeries, especially spinal and orthopedic procedures,” authorities said in a statement announcing the sentencing. “Pacific Hospital’s owner, Michael D. Drobot, conspired with doctors, chiropractors and marketers to pay kickbacks in return for the referral of thousands of patients to Pacific Hospital for spinal surgeries and other medical services paid for primarily through the California workers’ compensation system.”

Capen referred surgeries to the hospital and used medical equipment from a hospital-affiliated entity. Additionally, he referred medical services such as urine drug testing to affiliated entities. Authorities say between 1998 and 2013 Capen’s role amounted to about $142 million of the hospital’s claims to insurers, on which the facility was paid about $56 million.

Drobot, meanwhile is serving a five year prison term. His son, Timothy James Hunt, MD was sentenced to two years in prison after admitting to taking illegal kickbacks.

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