For release on April 25, 2012   CONTACT PERSON:
Katharina L. Wells, Deputy District Attorney
Insurance Fraud Unit/Economic Crimes Group
(408) 792-2530   CEO AND MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF IMPLANTIUM CHARGED WITH WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE FRAUD   In one of the first such cases against a medical device supplier in the state, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has charged two Implantium officials with felony fraud for inflating the costs of spinal implants and overcharging the county and cities for workers’ compensation insurance reimbursements.  
Trudy Maurer, 67, and Tigran Shahsuvarya, 39, both of San Francisco, have each been charged with nine felony counts of fraud. Maurer is due to be arraigned on May 1, 2012 in Santa Clara County Superior Court. Shahsuvarya is due to be arraigned on April 30, 2012.  If convicted, they could face up to 13 years in prison and a $50,000 per count fine. They would be ordered to pay full restitution.   Experts say such complex cases are rarely filed. But medical billing scams are epidemic and a major problem. “Medical scams are probably one of the largest cost drivers involving workers’ compensation fraud,’’ said Donald Marshall, chairman of the state Fraud Assessment Commission. “Any time a provider or a person bills the workers’ compensation system in excess of what they should be paid, then it impacts every employer in California because it impacts their rates.’’   Maurer is the CEO of Implantium, LLC, which purchases surgery implant devices and supplies them to hospitals. Hospitals use these implants for spinal surgeries of injured workers. Implantium then bills the workers’ compensation insurance carriers for the cost of the implants. It is alleged that Implantium fraudulently altered invoices it submitted to the County of Santa Clara and the city of San Jose, which are self-insured in workers’ compensation. The altered invoices illegally and substantially inflated what the manufacturers actually charged for the devices by as much as tens of thousands of dollars.  The law limits the profit on the sale of this type of medical devices to no more than $250 per device. Shahsuvarya, Implantium’s Medical Director, is also alleged to have participated in this fraudulent scheme. Any insurance carrier that has received invoices from Implantium should contact District Attorney Investigator Scott Marsh at (408) 792-2933.
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