Doctor Agrees To Pay $200K In Whistleblower Settlement


A Bullhead City physician will pay the federal government more than $200,000 as part of a settlement for allegedly submitting false claims to Medicare in a whistleblower case involving a former area doctor who is linked to bigger legal problems.


The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Arizona announced the settlement Wednesday that will resolve civil allegations against Dr. Bashir Azher.


According to a whistleblower lawsuit filed in June 2014 in U.S. District Court in Arizona, Azher, 69, knowingly made false claims for reimbursement for unnecessary prostate laser ablation procedures.


Azher is accused of doing this between February 2006 and July 2014.


“This settlement is the latest of our office’s longstanding and ongoing efforts to protect taxpayer dollars and recoup them when misappropriated,” said U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo.


“When physicians fail to meet professionally recognized standards of care while providing medically unnecessary procedures, taxpayers’ dollars are wasted and the public’s trust in the medical profession is at risk,” said Timothy B. DeFrancesca, Acting Special Agent in Charge for the Los Angeles Region of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. “Our agents will continue to hold health care providers accountable for improper claims.”


The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in June 2014 by Dr. Arnaldo Trabucco, a urologist who formerly had a practice in Fort Mohave, under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allow private citizens to bring civil actions on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery obtained. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona and is captioned United States ex rel. Trabucco v. PHC Fort Mohave, Inc., et al. (CV-14-8094-PCT-DGC). Trabucco will receive a share of the settlement payment that resolves the whistleblower suit he filed.


According to the Arizona Medical Board, Azher is licensed to practice in the state through May of 2016 under his current credentials.


The settlement is neither an admission of liability by Azher nor a concession by the U.S. that its claims are without merit.


Trabucco has had his own legal issues, including the suspension of his license in Indiana in 2005 amid allegations that he and his wife, Pamela, were growing marijuana in his home. The suspension was lifted in December of that year when the Trabuccos pleaded guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges after originally facing felony charges.


More recently, Trabucco has been linked — but not charged — in connection with a conspiracy to commit murder of an Indiana attorney who represented Pamela Trabucco in her divorce of Arnoldo Trabucco in 2009. Renee Perillo, of Panama City, Fla., allegedly Trabucco’s girlfriend, and her son, Richard Perillo, of Laughlin, were arrested by federal authorities after an apparent plot to inject attorney Rebecca Eimerman with a lethal drug was foiled.


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