making false statements relating to healthcare matters. In a 2001
civil lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court, Opinion himself
alleged he was ordered by Kooshian to treat patients with saline
solution instead of prescription drugs.
Among several clinics in Long Beach and Garden Grove, Kooshian
also operated the Ocean View Internal Medicine clinic in the 1000
block of Glenneyre Street in Laguna.
Kooshian sold all four clinics under the names Valley View and
Ocean View to another doctor, Sue Lalla-Reddy, one year ago, said
clinic Public Relations Manager Shirley Joubeen.
The Ocean View and Valley View clinics have never been associated
with Kooshian under those namesakes, Joubeen said.
The clinic staff has not had a relationship with Kooshian since he
sold the practice, Joubeen said.
"Our practice is thriving and we've had no problems," Joubeen
Kooshian served for four years on the board of directors at Shanti
OC, a support-based organization for HIV and AIDS patients; he was
popular with patients, said Shanti OC Director Sarah Kasman.
"His patients, our clients, loved him," Kasman said. "He was very
attentive to their needs, he always went the extra mile for them."
Kooshian and Opinion have not been taken into custody, Assistant
U.S. Atty. Jeannie Joseph said. The pair are expected to be arraigned
in August at U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. The maximum penalty
for each of the 25 fraud counts is 10 years in federal prison.
Convictions for conspiracy and the three counts of making false
statements could each carry a five-year prison term.
The indictment alleges patients were mistreated between January
1995 and February 2001, claiming Kooshian instructed Opinion to
dilute medication with saline or water or to provide doses that
contained little or no medicine. A federal grand jury also charged
the pair with $1.2 million worth of fraudulent claims made to
Medicare and private insurers.
The fraud charges include allegations that patients were
improperly told to inject themselves with medicine, Joseph said.