‘Rent-a-Patient’ Doctor Sentenced to Nearly 5 Years in Prison

December 13, 2007

A doctor who paid patients so he could carry out unnecessary surgeries and then bill insurance companies for the work has been sentenced in Los Angeles to nearly five years in federal prison.

The U.S. attorney’s office says 60-year-old Mamdouh S. Bahna of Bel Air, Calif., started a “rent-a-patient” scam to perform the procedures. Operations included colonoscopies and “sweaty-palm” surgeries. Authorities say some patients received discounts on cosmetic surgery in exchange for their cooperation.

Prosecutors say Bahna defrauded insurance companies out of about $1 million. He was ordered to serve 58 months in prison and pay a $150,000 fine. Bahna had pleaded guilty in July to health care fraud.

A second doctor in the case, William W. Hampton, was recently convicted of health care fraud and is set to be sentenced in March.

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