Attorney General Bonta pleads guilty to Southern California doctor who illegally prescribed HIV drugs, antipsychotics and opioids to Medi-Cal beneficiaries California – Department of Justice

Defendant defrauded more than $20 million in Medi-Cal program and practiced in Los Angeles and Orange County

Auckland California Attorney General Rob Bonta today pleaded guilty to a Southern California doctor who participated in an illegal prescription scheme that defrauded the state’s Medi-Cal program of more than $20 million. Over the course of two years, Mohammed El-Nachef, MD, participated in an illicit drug prescription operation where he prescribed medically unnecessary HIV drugs, antipsychotics and opioids to more than a thousand Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Los Angeles Drugs, and Orange County. The drugs he authorized were not retained or used by the beneficiaries, but were diverted to the illicit market in exchange for cash. El-Nachef pleaded guilty today in Orange County Superior Court to one count of insurance fraud and one count of aiding and abetting the unauthorized practice of medicine. As part of the request, El-Nachef is required to pay $2.3 million in damages and surrender his medical license. His sentence is scheduled for August 1, 2023.

“El-Nachef used his position as a doctor to steal taxpayer money from our state programs and fuel illegal drug sales on the streets of Southern California — all for personal gain,” he said. Attorney General Bonta said. “Today, he was held accountable and ordered to return what he took from the people of California. The California Department of Justice will in no way condone abuses of power — big or small. A plan for our most vulnerable residents.”

From June 2014 to April 2016, El-Nachef prescribed medically unnecessary HIV medications, antipsychotics, and opioids to more than a thousand Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Southern California who were diverted to Illicit market for cash. El-Nachef works as a prescriber at two clinics: one in Anaheim and the other in Los Angeles. El-Nachef was recruited by individuals involved in the illegal sale of drugs. These men demanded promises of cash payments from Medi-Cal recipients to pose as patients, and El-Nachef, in turn, agreed to prescribe medically unreasonable drugs for these patients. The drugs selected are among the highest street value drugs. Pharmacies charge Medi-Cal for the drugs, which end up in the hands of individuals recruiting El-Nachef, who then sell the drugs for cash. In the case of El-Nachef, he receives cash payments every day for prescriptions.

The California Department of Justice’s DMFEA (Division of Medical Fraud and Elder Abuse) protects Californians by investigating and prosecuting those who defraud Medi-Cal programs and elder abusers. These results can only be achieved through the coordination and cooperation of government agencies, as well as the critical assistance of whistleblowers who report incidents of abuse or Medi-Cal fraud at

DMFEA’s total federal fiscal year 2021-2022 allocation is $50,522,020, with 75 percent of its funding coming from HHS. The remaining 25% is funded by the state of California. The federal fiscal year is defined as October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022.

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