Lawyer: Doctors in Fraud Case "Put Profits Over Patients"

Doctors in Southern California have been indicted in a multi-million dollar workers comp fraud scheme in a case that includes a charge of involuntary manslaughter

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Southern California man is being accused of running a $25 million scheme to defraud workers compensation that resulted in the death of a child. Ted Chen reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. from downtown Los Angeles Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (Published Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014)

    An attorney for the mother of an infant who died after ingesting pain-relieving cream allegedly prescribed by a doctor indicted in a $25 million medical scheme said Wednesday that the doctor and his alleged accomplices "put profits over their patients."

    Andrew Gallegos was only 6 months old when he died in February 2012.

    The boy's mother, Priscilla Lujan, rubbed cream onto her knee and shoulder that contained the chemicals found in her baby's body, said Shawn McCann, an attorney for the boy's mother.

    The cream was transferred to her boy when she touched his bottle and when he sucked on her fingers, McCann said.

    "It's most likely it was transferred from the nipple of the bottle or his mouth back into the bottle as he was drinking out of it," McCann said.

    The coroner found high levels of a pain reliever, cough suppressant, and antidepressant in his system, all of which appeared to be accidently given to him by his mother.

    She wrapped him in a blanket and put him down. The next morning, she found him cold, blue and lifeless, McCann said.

    The cream is the focus of an alleged criminal conspiracy allegedly led by a philanthropist who NBC4 profiled last year when he was helping to bring clean water to the African country of Niger.

    Prosecutors say over four years, Kareem Ahmed paid more than a dozen doctors and pharmacists more than $25 million dollars to dispense the cream as part of a scheme to defraud workers compensation.

    Also, among the charges is involuntary manslaughter in the death of Andrew Gallegos, court records and McCann said.

    Also named in the indictment is Dr. Andrew Jarminsky. He's the doctor accused of prescribing the cream to Lujan.

    "What's coming to light is that these doctors were putting profits over their patients," McCann said.

    Attorneys representing Dr. Jarminsky have not returned calls.

    Also indicted is USC pharmacist Michael Rudolph.

    Rudolph and Jarminsky allegedly received more than $1 million dollars in kickbacks from Ahmed.

    "If substantiated, these charges would constitute a grave abuse of the trust placed in the pharmacy profession and other healthcare providers," the dean of the USC school of pharmacy said in a statement.

    Ahmed, the alleged ringleader, was also a major donor to President Obama and Democrats in 2012.

    A representative he is innocent of all charges.

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