A federal grand jury returned an indictment this morning alleging that a Queen Creek pain management doctor billed the state health care program for patients he never actually saw. The scammed money, the feds say, was used to buy several pricey items, including an Arabian horse.
The indictment also alleges that the doctor's ex-wife used his name to write thousands of prescriptions for various narcotic pain medications.
According to the 130-count indictment, between 2008 and 2010, Marilyn Chirban, the ex-wife of Dr. Angelo Chirban, was working as an administrator in his office. With no medical training, Marilyn Chirban would write patients prescriptions for drugs like methadone, Oxycodone, Morphine, Hydrocodone, and other pain medications. She would sign the scripts with her then-husband's name.
Dr. Chirban, the indictment alleges, knew what his wife was doing, and even helped her do it by leaving prescription pads unsecured at their home and his office.
After his wife illegally dished out prescriptions, Chirban hired people to fraudulently complete medical charts for patients she'd written prescriptions for.
The couple would then use the fraudulent medical charts to bill Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) as if the patients had actually seen Dr. Chirban, as opposed to having his wife simply write them a prescription.
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Between 2006 and 2010, the Chirbans billed the state for 57,431 doctor visits. In reality, the majority of the patients for which Chirban billed the state were seen by nurse practitioners and physicians assistants.
In addition to spending more than $10,000 on the Arabian horse, the couple made other purchases with the fraudulent cash, including a luxury vehicle.
Some of the charges against the Chirbans included in the indictment are health care fraud, conspiracy to illegally distribute a controlled substance, and transactional money laundering.
The Chirbans turned themselves in to U.S. Marshals this morning. They're expected to have an initial appearance in federal court at 3 p.m. today.