Spine kickback orchestrator sentenced for violating forfeiture order


Michael Drobot, who served prison time for paying illegal kickbacks for spine surgeries at the now-defunct Pacific Hospital, was sentenced to another 15 months in prison for not paying money that he owed the government, The Press Telegram reported Nov. 17.

Mr. Drobot in 2018 was ordered to forfeit $10 million to the government, along with serving five years in prison after pleading guilty to the spine surgery fraud scheme. Part of that $10 million would be paid from selling off three luxury cars, but prosecutors said he used some of the money from the sale for personal use.

His home, warehouse and other assets were seized after he violated the forfeiture order.

Several spine and neurosurgeons have been convicted and sentenced for their roles in Mr. Drobot's kickback scheme at the former Long Beach, Calif., hospital. This year, David Payne, MD, was convicted and sentenced to 33 months in prison for taking $315,00 in kickbacks. In 2022, Lokesh Tantuwaya, MD, 55, was sentenced to five years for taking $3.3 million in bribes.

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