A former doctor from West Hollywood was found guilty this week of scamming tens of millions of dollars from health insurance companies and attempting to steal hundreds of millions more.
Jurors determined that Julian Omidi’s 1-800-GET-THIN business, famous for its once-ubiquitous billboard campaign, was a massive criminal scheme that lured in patients with promises of quick, easy weight-loss surgery. The company falsified test results showing that patients had obstructive sleep apnea and received about $41 million to perform those procedures. 1-800-GET-THIN submitted approximately $355 million in fraudulent claims, and billed patients $15,000 for each sleep study.
Omidi and his company were found guilty of 28 counts of wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He will be sentenced in April and faces 20 years for each of those counts.
“A jury found that Mr. Omidi committed a massive fraud against public and private health insurers by falsifying sleep studies and other patient information for authorized payments for Lap-Band surgeries,” said Ciaran McEvoy, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, in a statement. “Our office is grateful for the jury’s service during this lengthy and hard-fought trial and we will continue to vigorously prosecute health care fraud wherever and whenever we find it.”