FULLERTON — An Orange County doctor pleaded guilty Wednesday to a scheme to defraud Medi-Cal of $20 million.
PhD. Mohamed Waddah El-Nachef, 69, of Laguna Hills, pleaded guilty to committing a fraudulent Medi-Cal program, fraudulent health benefit claim, fraudulent insurance benefit claim, false or fraudulent claim, solicitation, acceptance or recommendation of business, conspiracy or Aiding and abetting the unauthorized practice of medicine, and theft, all felonies. He also admitted to aggravated white-collar crime sentences of between $100,000 and $500,000.
He is due to be sentenced in August. 1 or next year.
The doctor will be ordered to pay $2.3 million in damages and surrender his medical license, according to the attorney general’s office prosecuting the case.
“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,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement said in. “Today, he was held accountable and ordered to return what he took from the people of California. The California Department of Justice will never tolerate abuses of power—big or small. As a lawyer for the people, I will continue to protect the A plan for our most vulnerable residents.”
The doctor was charged in March 2020, according to court documents filed by the state attorney general’s office.
El-Nachef “written prescriptions for HIV drugs, antipsychotics and opioids for the more than 1,000 medical beneficiaries that Fleming and Abrams brought to him,” court documents said. “El-Nachef never performed a bona fide medical examination or otherwise verified that the patient really needed the medication he prescribed. The vast majority of the patients were not HIV-infected and had no legitimate need for psychiatric or controlled substances. These medications were Paid by Medi-Cal, which had no knowledge that El-Nachef’s prescriptions were generated as part of a fraud and drug trafficking scheme.”
According to prosecutors, the program ran from June 2014 to April 2016. Prosecutors said doctors prescribed the drugs at two clinics — one in Anaheim and the other in Los Angeles.
The doctor’s attorney, Christopher Jude Bou Saeed, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.