A Los Angeles area physician assistant, David James Garrison, has been sentenced to 72 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for stealing the identity of physicians to prescribe medically unnecessary prescriptions for durable medical equipment (“DME”) and diagnostic tests. He has also been ordered to pay $24,935 in restitution. Garrison was arrested for his part in an elaborate scheme that included fraudulent clinics that trafficked in prescription orders for DME and diagnostic tests that were in turn used by fraudulent DME suppliers and medical testing facilities.
From approximately March 2007 through September 2008, Garrison’s co-conspirator Edward Aslanyan participated in an $18.5 million scheme to use street level recruiters to find Medicare beneficiaries who were willing to exchange their Medicare billing information for free high-end power wheelchairs and other equipment. Aslanyan, in turn, paid kickbacks to the recruiters for every “patient” they brought in. Aslanyan would sell the prescriptions fraudulently written by Garrison to DME companies for $1,000-$1,500. The DME company would in turn buy wheelchairs wholesale for $900 but would bill Medicare approximately $5,000 for each wheelchair.
Garrison would also order sleep studies, ultra-sounds, and nerve conduction therapy which were billed to Medicare by fraudulent testing companies who paid Aslanyan kickbacks to operate from his fraudulent medical clinics. Garrison was paid up to $10,000 a week for his part in the fraudulent scheme.
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