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New Charges Added in Workers' Comp Case

June 01, 1996|STUART SILVERSTEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A neurosurgeon accused of masterminding one of the biggest workers' compensation scams in Southern California in the late 1980s and early 1990s has been hit with additional criminal charges in the alleged fraud.

The expanded indictment announced Friday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office against the doctor, David Gardner, 53, also named two new defendants in the case.

One of those defendants, Stanley Goldblum, 69, was sentenced in the 1970s to eight years in prison in connection with his role in the spectacular financial collapse of Equity Funding Corp. of America.

The new grand jury indictment concentrates on the operations of Primedex Corp., a now-closed chain of workers' compensation medical clinics that, prosecutors say, chalked up more than $110 million in revenue from 1988 to 1993. Gardner was the chain's owner, Goldblum served as controller and the third defendant, chiropractor Vincent Punturere, 44, was the medical staff director.

Prosecutors charge that the defendants defrauded insurance companies and employers by, among other things, charging for medical services that were never provided, providing illegal kickbacks to doctors and chiropractors, and submitting ghostwritten medical reports. Each of the three defendants is charged with securities fraud and conspiracy.

Lawyers for the defendants said they would contest the charges.

Gardner's lawyer, Richard A. Moss, called the case "a concocted, gobbledygook piece of information that won't support a criminal conviction," and said his client would be exonerated . Gardner is free on bail of $3.2 million.

Prosecutors said neither Primedex's former parent, New Jersey-based Primedex Health Systems, nor the New Jersey company's current managers are targets of the investigation.

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