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Brown Announces Sixteen Arrests In $2 Million Medi-Cal Pregnancy Fraud

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Contact: (415) 703-5837

LOS ANGELES--California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the arrest of two physicians, three clinic administrators, and eleven assistants for luring pregnant women to a fake health clinic that fraudulently billed the state’s Medi-Cal program for at least $2 million.

“The Medi-Cal program is a vital medical program for the most vulnerable Californians--I won’t tolerate rip offs from this program by doctors or anyone else,” Attorney General Brown said.

The suspects hired recruiters, known as cappers, to solicit pregnant women walking in the street outside the clinic. The cappers enticed women to visit the clinic by offering approximately $30 or free baby merchandise or the promise of certain medical services. Recruiters were paid $100, under the table, for every pregnant woman they could convince to visit the clinic.

The clinic targeted pregnant women so that it could enroll them in a special presumptive eligibility Medi-Cal program, designed for low income Californians who do not have health insurance for prenatal care. Clinic staff enrolled the women in this program, thereby allowing doctors to immediately bill the state at a higher rate for temporary prenatal health benefits.

Women who visited the clinic were instructed not to use their real names or dates of birth on the patient intake forms given to them by the clinic’s personnel.

During the clinic visits, patients received unnecessary services like pregnancy tests or unnecessary blood tests. Solicitors then told patients that if they wanted additional cash or gifts they could return to the clinic and re-enroll using a different name and date of birth. Under this scheme, the clinic maintained a steady source of people to generate false Medi-Cal claims.

The clinic billed Medi-Cal $400-$500 per pregnant patient for a wide array of prenatal services that were generally not provided. For example, the clinic would conduct unnecessary blood tests, a scam which ripped off an additional $100-$200 from the Medi-Cal program.

The defendants arrested today at the Downtown M Medical Clinic on Wilshire Boulevard and elsewhere include: the clinic’s owner Dr. Peter Shrier, the office manager Ella Rozenberg, Ella’s husband Arkady Rozenberg, Dr. Anna Gravich, a physician who helped falsify medical records, and Anna’s husband, Gersha Gravich, who helped run the clinic. The others arrested were sidewalk solicitors who recruited the patients. The activities at the clinic remain under investigation.

Shrier, the Rozenbergs and the Graviches are charged with violating Penal Code sections 487(a) & 12022.6(a)(3), theft of more than $1.3 million, and violating Welfare and Institutions Code section 14107, presenting false Medi-Cal claims. The solicitors are charged with violating Welfare and Institutions Code section 14107.2, paying for Medi-Cal referrals.

The Department of Justice launched an investigation into the clinic after a former employee tipped off the department after being fired for questioning suspicious billing practices. During the investigation, special agents interviewed witnesses and reviewed key Medi-Cal and bank records. The case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse.

Other law enforcement personnel that assisted the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse during today’s arrest include the following: the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau, Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service.

The Department of Justice Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse investigates and prosecutes those who file fraudulent claims for medical services, medical equipment and drugs.

Medi Cal is a government program that pays for essential medical services for California’s qualifying poor. It is funded by the state and federal governments and administered by the California Department of Health Care Services.

Suspect Information:

Peter Reuben Shrier
Recommended Bail: $500,000
DOB: 05/14/41
Sex: M Race: W Hair: Brn Eyes: Brn Ht: 5'10' Wt: 200
Residence: 4738 Tobias Ave. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Business: 2500 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 100 Los Angeles, CA 90057

Arkady Rozenberg
Recommended Bail: $500,000
DOB: 05/30/50
Sex: M Race: W Hair: Brn Eyes: Brn Ht: 6'01' Wt: 215
Residence: 2309 Apollo Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90046
Business: 2500 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 100 Los Angeles, CA 90057

Ella Rozenberg
Recommended Bail: $500,000
DOB: 12/24/52
Sex: F Race: W Hair: Bln Eyes: Grn Ht: 5'06' Wt: 175
Residence: 2309 Apollo Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90046
Business: 2500 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 100 Los Angeles, CA 90057

Gersha Gravich
Recommended Bail: $500,000
DOB: 10/26/47
Sex: M Race: W Hair: Brn Eyes: Brn Ht: 5'10' Wt: 220
Residence: 2515 Apollo Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90046
Business: 2500 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 100 Los Angeles, CA 90057
Aliases: Gregory Gravich

Anna Gravich
Recommended Bail: $500,000
DOB: 01/08/48
Sex: F Race: W Hair: Bln Eyes: Grn Ht: 5'03' Wt: 170
Residence: 2515 Apollo Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90046
Business: 2500 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 100 Los Angeles, CA 90057
Aliases: Ana Gravich

The suspects are being held in Los Angeles County Jail, awaiting arraignment and bail review later this week. The case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse.

The investigation into this case is ongoing.

The criminal complaint is attached.

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AttachmentSize
Criminal Complaint54.66 KB

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