A Brea physician, who is being prosecuted in a baby’s death and for being part of an alleged $100 million workers compensation fraud scam, recently had his medical license restricted pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.
The interim suspension order agreed to by Dr. Andrew Robert Jarminski, his attorney Peter R. Osinoff and counsel for the Medical Board of California went into effect on Dec. 22, according to state records.
The Weekly previously reported on the $25 million fraud/manslaughter case that prominently features Inland Empire businessman Kareem Ahmed, a major donor to Barack Obama as well as such charities as Lupus LA, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation and the Drug Enforcement Agency Survivors Benefit Fund. During the 2012 presidential campaign cycle alone, Ahmed contributed $1 million to help reelect Obama, with most going to the Priorities USA Action super PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
However, by October 2013, the Orange County District Attorney’s office had raided Ahmed’s Landmark Medical Management in Ontario, where evidence was collected that would lead the grand jury to indict 15 people, including Ahmed and Jarminski, for the alleged fraud scheme.
Ahmed, who is not a pharmacist, and two others allegedly devised a pain cream from three compounds. Physicians and chiropractors were recruited to prescribe the “toxic” cream in exchange for kickbacks, according to prosecutors, who further allege insurance companies and the workers compensation system were gouged when they were billed in the thousands of dollars for a tube of cream that actually cost well under $100.
The original indictment specifically cast Ahmed as the ringleader, accusing him of: hiring pharmacists to produce three “compounded transdermal cream;” paying kickbacks to several physicians and chiropractors who prescribed the cream to their workers’ compensation patients (to the tune of $25 million between June 15, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012); and conspiring with doctors to submit fraudulent workers compensation claims.
Ahmed’s attorneys managed to get most of the counts against their client tossed in March 2016. But the OCDA refiled charges against Ahmed and others that pushed the number of defendants up to 21 people and the alleged fraud ballooned to $100 million. Hearings in the case are set for Feb. 9 and 26 in Orange County Superior Court.
Jarminski, who had offices in Long Beach and Lawndale when he was first accused of having received $1.9 million in Landmark kickbacks, Michael Rudolph, owner of Tustin Community Pharmacy, and Ahmed were also charged with manslaughter by the OCDA. On or about Feb. 3, 2012, the three “did unlawfully and without malice kill Andrew G. (a minor) … in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner and without due caution and circumspection,” read the indictment.
Priscilla Lujan, who suffered from sore knees, was prescribed by Jarminski the pain cream that Rudolph allegedly prepared for Ahmed’s Landmark. She later used her fingers as a pacifier for her infant son, unaware that she still had residue from the pain cream. Andrew Gallegos ingested the ointment before dying in February 2012. He was not yet 6 months old. The OCDA alleges the cream contained synthetic morphine. Lujan, who claims no warning came with the medication, is separately suing Jarminski.
Attorneys for the defendants have vehemently denied the charges against them. As for Jarminski’s medical license, his lawyers argued that staying a suspension is appropriate because he is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and if he is convicted his license will be revoked by the medical board anyway.
Late last month, Administrative Law Judge Susan L. Formaker agreed that the public can be protected through the restrictions of the interim suspension order, which stipulates that Jarminski cannot dispense or prescribe non-FDA approved compounded medications before the matters before the criminal court and medical board are resolved.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.