An Anaheim Hills-based doctor who practices out of a medical marijuana clinic and goes by "Dr. J" (get it?) has been court-ordered to stop practicing medicine while he is out on bail for the alleged sexual assault of a female patient. But here's the deal with Dr. Sri Jayantha Wijegunaratne: He's already out on a bail in a separate case that accuses him of having defrauded Medicare by prescribing powered wheelchairs to patients who did not need them.
Let's back this puppy way up: Federal prosecutors claim Wijegunaratne prescribed powered wheelchairs, at a cost of about $2,800 each, to six patients who did not need them. His chosen medical equipment supplier billed Medicare, got reimbursed and paid the physician kickbacks, according to the feds.
A jury in the spring of 2013 found Wijegunaratne guilty of six counts of health care fraud and two counts of conspiracy. He was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, but federal appellate judges ruled he did not have to serve the sentence while he appealed the conviction on the grounds he was not likely to flee and did not pose a danger to the community.
He was still licensed to practice medicine, and that's what he was doing at a medical marijuana clinic in Riverside, where, according to that inland city's cops and prosecutors, Wijegunaratne sexually assaulted a woman patient in May. He pleaded not guilty to counts of felony forcible penetration and sexual battery.
A Riverside County Superior Court judge just ordered Wijegunaratne to stop practicing medicine until the sexual assault case is resolved. He had to turn over his prescription pads as well.
Meanwhile, based on the Medicare fraud case, the California Medical Board has recommended he permanently be stripped of his license to practice. As with the sexual assault case, that matter is pending and Wijegunaratne is mounting a legal fight.