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Doctor held in sexual assaults

Times Staff Writer

A South Los Angeles physician was jailed Monday on suspicion of sexually assaulting a number of female patients, including a 15-year-old girl and an undercover LAPD officer, authorities said.

Dr. Kevin Brown, 37, who has won local notice for organizing charity fundraisers at the Playboy Mansion, allegedly molested eight patients over a two-year period. In court documents, authorities said Brown, who is being held on $4-million bail, is also being investigated by the state for “multiple healthcare fraud schemes and overprescription of Oxycodone.” He has not been charged in connection with that inquiry.

In court documents, prosecutors requested unusually heavy bail, noting that Brown, whose father heads the government of Bermuda, might attempt to flee there. Brown was arrested at his Los Angeles home Monday morning by Los Angeles Police Department detectives. The arrest came after several women contacted authorities and accused Brown of sexually battering or raping them during medical examinations, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Ann Marie Wise, of the sex crimes division.

Brown faces 19 felony counts, including a lewd act on a 15-year-old, rape, sexual battery by fraud and sexual exploitation. The alleged assaults occurred between Nov. 6, 2006, and May 31, 2008. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in state prison.

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At the time of his arrest Monday, Brown was free on bail for a previous sexual assault arrest. On July 8, police booked Brown on suspicion of assaulting an 18-year-old woman in June 2007, as well as a female undercover officer who posed as a patient. Those assaults allegedly occurred at his Crenshaw Boulevard office, police said. In addition to his practice, Brown is best known for operating a medical disaster relief charity that holds celebrity poker fundraisers at the Playboy Mansion every year.

While LAPD detectives were investigating Brown for the alleged sexual assaults, state medical fraud investigators have been examining his role in an alleged healthcare fraud scheme, according to an affidavit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The affidavit also reported that the state Department of Justice suspects Brown of overprescribing painkillers.

Special Agent J. Timothy Fives of the state Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse unit said he believed Brown was involved in multiple healthcare fraud schemes and in overprescribing painkillers. He said Brown came to his attention during a larger investigation of clinics run by people of Russian and Armenian descent.

Fives alleged that he interviewed physicians who are “now convicted felons of health fraud or awaiting trial on felony health fraud charges” and they told him Brown recruited them into the healthcare fraud scheme. According to Fives, “physicians have stated during interviews that they paid Dr. Brown a percentage of their income from fraudulent Medi-Cal and Medi-Care claims in payment for him setting them up in business.”

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Fives stated that one of those clinics operated by a physician made more than $4 million. According to Fives, that doctor paid Brown “several thousand dollars.”

During a raid of another physician’s home in October, investigators obtained a list of names of doctors allegedly involved in the fraud scheme. Brown’s name was on the list, Fives said.

Brown, a well-known physician in South Los Angeles, also operates the Urban Health Institute of Los Angeles. The charity, which is run out of the same building as Brown’s practice, seeks to provide disaster relief in the United States, South America and throughout Africa.

Founded by Brown, the institute has held fundraisers at the Playboy Mansion. The events have featured celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian, Don Cheadle, Shannon Elizabeth and Hugh Hefner. Newspapers in Bermuda have reported that its tourism board provided free vacations to the charity. The trips were given as prizes for donors to the charity.

Brown’s father, Ewart Brown, is also a well-known physician. Before returning to Bermuda in the 1990s, the elder Brown also operated a South L.A. medical clinic and was an assistant professor at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.

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richard.winton@latimes.com


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