A pediatrician in Monterey Park and two of his employees have been indicted on allegations of Medi-Cal fraud and, with little or no medical exam, prescribing prescription strength diet pills to adults according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
"Kid's M.D." owner and operator Dr. Thomas Lin, his physician’s assistant Nobel Lin (no relation) and employee Ricardo Chavarria pleaded not guilty. The 55-count Grand Jury indictment was unsealed Friday, September 20, 2013.
Investigators from the California Medical Board posed as new patients and reported they were able to obtain phentermine with little or no physical examination by Dr. Lin or his physician’s assistant, Nobel Lin. Investigators reportedly received the drug either by paying Dr. Lin's front office staff or receiving the drug for free.
The indictment charges Dr. Lin with multiple counts of the sale of a controlled substance and illegitimate prescribing. In addition, he is charged with multiple counts of Medi-Cal fraud and insurance fraud for allegedly billing for services that were never rendered to his patients. If convicted, he faces up to 34 years in custody. His bail was set at $550,000.
The indictment also states that investigators were able to buy phentermine directly from employee Chavarria who allegedly sold the drug away from the clinic. Chavarria is charged with the sale of a controlled substance and unlicensed practice of medicine. If convicted, he faces up to six years and four months in custody. His bail was set at $60,000.
The physician's assistant, Noble Lin, is charged with illegitimate prescribing. If convicted, he faces up to five years and eight months in custody. His bail was set at $100,000.
" California Medical Board investigators are peace officers who often go undercover to witness firsthand any abuse of the law," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). CLSEA is represents Medical Board investigators along with nearly 7,000 other law enforcement, public safety and consumer protection professionals who work for the State of California. "They work closely with a Deputy Attorney General to ensure the proper steps are taken for a successful prosecution. We place our trust in doctors and when that trust is violated and laws are broken, Medical Board investigators will get to the bottom of it."