General Crime

* Trudy Maurer CEO of Implantium and Tigran Shahsuvarya Company Medical Director Charged with Alleged Fraud for Over-Billing County

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Two medical device company officials are facing fraud charges for allegedly illegally inflating the cost of spinal implants by thousands of dollars, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednseday. Trudy Maurer, 67, the CEO of Implantium, and Tigran Shahsuvarya, 39, the company’s medical director, have each been charged with nine counts of felony fraud, district attorney’s officials said. Prosecutors allege that the pair inflated the cost of spinal implants on invoices and overcharged the county and cities for workers’ compensation insurance reimbursements.

If convicted, Maurer and Shahsuvarya could be sentenced to up to 13 years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for each count, plus restitution, according to the district attorney’s office. Implantium purchases implants from manufacturers and supplies them to hospitals that then use them in surgeries on workers with spinal injuries. The company then bills the workers’ compensation insurance carrier for the implants — in this case, the county of Santa Clara and the city of San Jose, which are self-insured in worker’s compensation cases, district attorney’s officials said.

But prosecutors allege that Implantium fraudulently altered invoices, in some cases inflating them by tens of thousands of dollars. Legally, the maximum profit per device is $250, according to the district attorney’s office. “Any time a provider or a person bills the worker’s compensation system in excess of what they should be paid, then it impacts every employer in California because it impacts their rates,” Donald Marshall, chairman of the state Fraud Assessment Commission, said in a statement released by prosecutors. Maurer is scheduled to be arraigned on May 1 and Shahsuvarya on April 30.

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