Neurosurgeon sentenced 5 years for accepting $3.3M in bribes


Neurosurgeon Lokesh Tantuwaya, MD, 55, was sentenced five years for taking about $3.3 million in bribes for performing at the now-defunct Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, Calif.

Along with his sentence, Dr. Tantuwaya must forfeit the money he obtained in bribes, according to the Justice Department. 

Dr. Tantuwaya on Sept. 1 pleaded guilty to accepting the bribes. Between 2010 to 2013, he accepted payments from Michael Drobot, the former owner of Pacific Hospital, in exchange for him performing spine surgeries at the hospital, which violated the federal Anti-Kickback statute. He entered into contracts with Mr. Drobot and admitted he knew or was deliberately ignored that the payments were given in exchange for bringing cases to the hospital. The neurosurgeon also admitted to depositting bribe checks into his bank accounts. 

Mr. Drobot is serving a five-year prison sentence for his scheme that paid physicians, chiropractors and marketers illegal kickbacks to refer workers' compensation patients to the hospital for spine surgeries.

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