Surgeon Accepted $3.3 Million in Injured Worker Kickbacks

Federal prosecutors announced that a neurosurgeon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and admitted receiving about $3.3 million in kickbacks to perform spinal surgeries at Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, California.

Lokesh Tantuwaya, 55, pleaded guilty Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He has been in federal custody since May 2021, prosecutors said. Dr. Tantuwaya admitted he accepted payments from Michael D. Drobot, the owner of Pacific Hospital, to perform spinal surgeries from 2010 to 2013.

Mr. Drobot pleaded guilty to kickback and conspiracy charges in 2014 and is currently serving a five-year prison sentence. Mr. Drobot conspired with doctors, chiropractors and marketers to pay kickbacks and bribes for the referral of injured workers that generated more than $500 million in bills for spinal surgeries that involved kickbacks.