Workers’ compensation claims can be invaluable for those who would otherwise struggle due to lack of income when out of work following a workplace accident, but the man behind a fraudulent scheme finally got his comeuppance as a long-running lawsuit came to a close. Michael Drobot, the former owner of Pacific Hospital in California, has been sentenced to federal prison for masterminding a $600 million workers’ compensation scheme.
How the Fraudulent Pacific Hospital Scheme Worked
The court heard that, for more than fifteen years, Michael Drobot had been paying doctors, chiropractors and various other medical professionals to refer patients to his hospital for spinal surgeries. Some $40 million was paid out over the decade and half the scheme ran for, while Drobot filed around $600 million of bills with both state and federal worker’s compensation schemes. Some of the costs billed included the equipment used during the spinal surgeries, which had also been manufactured by a company owned by Drobot.
Taking advantage of a California law, now repealed, which allowed hospitals to pass on the full cost of these spinal surgery devices to the worker’s comp insurers, Drobot operated on patients who lived as far as several hundred miles from Pacific Hospital.
After pleading guilty in 2014, Drobot has now been sentenced to 63 months in prison, as well as being ordered to pay a $500,000 fine, pay $10 million to the US Government and to liquidize certain assets, including several supercars.
Seven other people who were involved in the scheme, one of whom is Drobot’s son, also entered a guilty plea and are currently awaiting sentencing. Schemes involving Drobot were listed amongst the charges of accepting bribes which saw former senator, Ronald Calderon, sentenced to federal prison time at an earlier date.
Making a Genuine Workers Compensation Claim
If you’ve genuinely been injured in the workplace and need to make a workers’ compensation claim, don’t let fraudsters like Drobot and his Pacific Hospital scheme put you off. An experienced Los Angeles workers compensation lawyer can help you to achieve the best possible outcome through protecting your rights and employing aggressive legal tactics where necessary.
While your worker’s compensation scheme, or your employer, may well try to minimize the extent of your claim, our team of attorneys knows how to work against this to get what you deserve and are entitled to. Some of the factors which a workers’ compensation lawyer can take into account include:
- The severity of your injuries
- Limitations imposed on you by your injuries
- Rating of your disability
- Whether you’re experiencing a permanent or temporary disability
- Whether you’re suffering from partial or total disability
- The wages you were paid at the time of the workplace incident
- Cost of both past and forecasted future medical treatment
You may also be offered a lump sum in place of workers’ compensation, an arrangement which can have both advantages and disadvantages and, as such, is best tackled by a professional.