11 people charged in drug treatment fraud involving pellets

Orange County's top prosecutor said 11 people including doctors have been charged in Southern California in an alleged insurance-fraud scheme involving an implant surgery that purportedly helps drug addicts and alcoholics.

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in announcing the case "Orange County has become what's known as the 'Rehab Riviera' due to the proliferation of insurance fraud and the attractiveness of our communities." Five doctors, two administrators and four body brokers were charged with participating in the scheme through a business called SoberLife USA.

Rackauckas said "all told, SoberLife USA is accused of billing these insurance providers over $6.8 million in health care claims for this experimental, non-FDA-approved and potentially dangerous surgery." All were scheduled to be arraigned today on various charges including conspiring in unauthorized practice of medicine, insurance fraud, and false and fraudulent claim.

Jim Rondeau