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California Chiropractor Receives 54 Year Sentence for $150M Worker’s Comp Fraud

A former chiropractor was sentenced to 54 years, eight months in state prison and ordered to pay more than $23 million in fines for his role in orchestrating a massive workers’ compensation fraud scheme totaling $150 million.

Peyman Heidary, was convicted by a Riverside County jury in January 2024 of 68 counts of insurance fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, and various other charges.

“The California workers’ compensation system is designed to help injured workers get back on their feet without ruining them financially,” said Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin. “Sophisticated criminals like Mr. Heidary don’t just steal money, they take advantage of innocent patients. The sentence handed down today sends a strong message that these types of offenses will not be tolerated in Riverside County.”

Between 2009 and 2014, Heidary controlled several sham law firms and a network of sham health clinics. An investigation over several years by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Insurance revealed Heidary exaggerated patient injuries and ordered his employees to provide unnecessary treatments, resulting in inflated billings to insurance companies.

Heidary used the sham law firm to recruit thousands of legitimately injured patients, referring them to his network of clinics to create unnecessary billing. One of the injured workers, Denise Rivera, slipped and fell while working as a certified nurse assistant for special needs children. Ms. Rivera testified that she was recruited into Heidary’s scheme, but never received any effective treatment.

“The employees released me,” Rivera told jurors. “They told me … basically I was okay. My knee was okay.” When asked during the trial if her knee actually was OK, she simply responded, “No.”

Although originally charged with $98 million in fraud, evidence presented at trial, including Heidary’s testimony, revealed that the actual damage was about $150 million. During the sentencing hearing on April 12, 2024, Judge Charles Koosed noted that Heidary possessed deep knowledge of the workers’ compensation system, stating, “He took advantage of that knowledge based on greed.”

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