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A California doctor and an alleged unqualified medical interpreter were charged with fraud after conspiring to bilk more than 100 insurance companies, claims administrators and self-insured employers by billing for translation services that were illegal or nonexistent, the District Attorney for the County of Santa Clarita announced Wednesday.
Investigators allege Gabriela Pacheco, 46, of San Jose, California, had been substituting her unqualified family members to do translations for injured workers, a task required by state law to be done by a certified interpreter. Ms. Pacheco is also accused of billing insurance companies for patients with Latino surnames for work she had not done. The district attorney also accused Dr. Tariq Mirza, 60, of Union City, of helping to organize the scam in exchange for more than $100,000 in kickbacks, according to the charges.
Dr. Mirza and Ms. Pacheco were charged with conspiracy to commit workers compensation billing fraud and unlawful kickbacks for patient referrals, crimes that carry prison time, according to a press release.
“There’s a reason you have to be certified to do these translations,” prosecutor Julie Sousa said in the press statement. “Injured workers are entitled to a standard level of care – which includes qualified interpreters to translate everything from their surgery risks to medication instructions.”
Dr. Mirza is the owner of Ariba Healthcare Group Inc., which provides medical and chiropractic treatment primarily for injured workers, with offices in San Jose and the greater Bay Area, according to the press release. Ms. Pacheco is the owner of One World Interpreting Services, a San Jose company that provides Spanish translation services for medical providers.
A Riverside, California, chiropractor was charged by the Riverside County district attorney’s office Thursday with 47 felony counts related to a $300,000 insurance fraud and kickback scheme, investigators announced.