SAN DIEGO –On November 29, 2018, a jury convicted Gonzalo Paredes, 62, of 51 felony counts of paying illegal kickbacks to a doctor for patient referrals and fraudulently billing workers' compensation insurance companies in the California workers' compensation system.
This prosecution resulted from Operation Backlash, a large-scale, joint federal and state investigation into multi-million dollar fraud and illegal kickbacks in the state workers' compensation system. Paredes was the office administrator for Advanced Radiology of Beverly Hills, owned by radiologist Dr. Ronald Grusd.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Attorney's office convicted Grusd on 39 felony fraud counts for paying kickbacks for patient referrals from multiple clinics in San Diego and Imperial counties, resulting in fraudulent bills to insurance companies of more than $22 million for medical services. Grusd was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
The scheme in San Diego involved Advanced Radiology paying a local chiropractor money in exchange for the referral of patients. This allowed Advanced Radiology to treat the patients and then bill several million dollars to insurance companies. As the office administrator for Advanced Radiology, Paredes helped negotiate the kickback deals with the chiropractor and facilitated the kickback payments to the chiropractor and those working with him.
“It is despicable to think patient care took such a back seat to an immense amount of greed,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “the California Department of Insurance works with local and federal agencies to investigate insurance fraud which leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved.”
The District Attorney's Office partnered with the FBI, California Department of Insurance, and U.S. Attorney's Office in the investigation and prosecution of Paredes.