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Physical Therapy Clinic Owner Gets 15 Months Behind Bars for Medicare Fraud

Eddie Choi of Westlake was also ordered to pay $900,000 in restitution.

Credit: Chris Ryan/Getty Images
Credit: Chris Ryan/Getty Images

Posted by Alexander Nguyen

The co-owner of a Los Angeles physical therapy clinic was sentenced today to 15 months in federal prison and a year in a halfway house for submitting more than $2 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.

Eddie Choi, 46, of Westlake, co-owner of California Neuro-Rehabilitation, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson to pay restitution of more than $900,000 to Medicare.

Choi pleaded guilty in January to the payment of illegal kickbacks stemming from a scheme in which his clinic paid to obtain information about Medicare beneficiaries, which was then used to bill Medicare for services not rendered, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen A. Williams.

Choi submitted bills for physical therapy when, in fact, the services, to the extent they were rendered at all, were massages and acupuncture treatments that Medicare does not cover, the prosecutor said.

A second person charged in the case -- Won Suk Lee, 46, most recently of Murrieta -- performed some of the treatments, even though he is not licensed to perform physical therapy, according to court papers.

Choi caused CNR to bill Medicare for Lee's patients and then paid Lee with about 60 percent of the nearly $1 million in Medicare reimbursements that CNR received, prosecutors said.

Lee, who owned and operated an acupuncture clinic in Huntington Park, pleaded guilty last year to health care fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced in August.

— City News Service

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