A mistrial was declared in one of Texas’s biggest health care fraud cases after a medical emergency. The defendants allegedly carried out a $158 million scheme.
Involved in the trial are a surgeon, a pharmacist, the pharmacist’s brother and the brother’s stepson. According to Law 360, the family and its friends carried out the $158 million scheme by submitting false claims for expensive medications to health programs. The accused also allegedly covered up kickbacks through businesses and untrue tax filings.
One of the defendant’s lawyers suffered from a medical emergency that led to surgery, but public records have not named which lawyer was affected. The medical issue brought the case to a halt during testimony in federal court in Dallas, according to the Dallas Business Journal.
The trial was first pushed back on Oct. 31 and was rescheduled for Nov. 7, but recovery lasted much longer than expected. After hearing arguments from both sides and polling jurors, District Judge Sam Lindsay declared a mistrial on Dec. 19.
“Defendants were concerned that jurors would be distracted, rush their deliberations, and hold the delay against them if the trial continued,” Lindsay said.
Custom-formulated medications to treat federally insured government workers for on-the-job injuries or work-related illnesses were some of the most expensive treatments in the scheme. The Dallas Business Journal reported that the four defendants, Jamshid (James) Noryian, Dehshid (David) Nourian, Michael Taba and Christopher Rydberg are among nine people who were charged in the case.
One defendant, Ali Khavarmanesh, a Tarrant County pharmacy owner, is a government fugitive. Kevin Williams, an orthopedic surgeon from Ennis, cut a plea deal with prosecutors in July 2019. Another, Leslie Benson of Waco, died last June. The day before the October trial, charges were dismissed against Noryian’s elderly mother and his sister, a Plano dentist.
The trial was reset by Lindsay for Sept. 11, 2023. This year, the case will be in its seventh year after being delayed by the 2020 pandemic.