On September 29th, 2022

Southern California Doctor who Illegally Prescribed Medications to Medi-Cal Beneficiaries Pleads Guilty A California DOJ investigation

LOS ANGELES – On September 28, 2022,  a Southern California doctor who participated in an illegal prescription scheme that defrauded the state Medi-Cal program of more than $20 million pleaded guilty.

Over the course of two years, Mohammed El-Nachef, M.D., took part in an illicit drug-prescription operation where he prescribed medically unnecessary HIV medications, anti-psychotics, and opioids to more than a thousand Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The medications he authorized were not kept or used by the Medi-Cal beneficiaries, but instead diverted to the illicit market for cash.

El-Nachef plead guilty in Orange County Superior Court to one count of insurance fraud and one count of aiding and abetting the unauthorized practice of medicine. As part of his plea, El-Nachef is required to pay $2.3 million in restitution and surrender his medical license. His sentencing is set for August 1, 2023.

“El-Nachef used his position as a physician to steal taxpayer money from our state programs and fuel illicit pharmaceutical sales on the streets of Southern California – all for personal gain,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Today, he was held accountable and ordered to give back what he took from the people of California.”

From June 2014 to April 2016, El-Nachef, prescribed medically unnecessary medications that were diverted on to the illicit market for cash. El-Nachef served as the prescriber at two clinics: one in Anaheim and the other in Los Angeles. El-Nachef was recruited by individuals who were involved in illegally selling the medications. These individuals solicited Medi-Cal recipients with the promise of cash payments to pose as patients, and in turn, El-Nachef agreed to prescribe these patients the medically unjustified medications. The selected drugs were among those with the highest street value. The pharmacies billed Medi-Cal for the medications, which would ultimately end up in the hands of the individuals who recruited El-Nachef, who then sold the drugs for cash. For his part, El-Nachef received cash payments for each day he wrote prescriptions.

“Not only did this scheme defraud the state’s Medi-Cal program of millions of dollars, it contributed to illegal drug use in our communities which destroys families, lives and contributes to further criminal activity,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) Alan Barcelona.

 

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