A Los Angeles chiropractor surrendered to authorities Thursday after being accused of submitting more than $350,000 worth of fraudulent insurance bills to Blue Cross of California and of sharing the proceeds with hundreds of employees at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Dr. Theodore R. Wyatt, whose office is at 7868 S. Western Ave., is accused of submitting hundreds of bills to the insurance company from 1978 to 1982 for the treatment of Cedars-Sinai workers. Most of these employees were not Wyatt's patients, but were paid to cooperate with the scheme, according to investigators.
Ronald E. Warthen, chief investigator for the state Department of Insurance's fraud bureau, said authorities learned of the alleged scheme after one of the participants "became somewhat disgruntled" over how the money was being split and notified police.
Made His Contacts
Warthen said Wyatt once worked at Cedars-Sinai in a non-professional capacity and "is likely to have made several of his contacts at the hospital at that time."
Employees were given $50 each time a new "patient" was recruited for the venture, Warthen said, and during one 16-day period Wyatt claimed to have treated 230 Cedars-Sinai workers.
In one 11-month period, Wyatt billed Blue Cross for 5,031 office visits by Cedars-Sinai employees, none of whom ever made an office visit or required an X-ray, Warthen said.
Some May Get Immunity
No hospital employees have been charged, and Warthen said he expects some to be given immunity in exchange for testimony against Wyatt. The investigator said none of the hospital employees involved are doctors or nurses.
At his arraignment Thursday before Los Angeles Municipal Judge Glenette Blackwell, Wyatt pleaded not guilty to charges of insurance fraud, grand theft and tax evasion. He was ordered back into court on April 16.