Surgeon Convicted of Federal Charges for Accepting Over $300,000 in Illicit Payments to Perform Spinal Surgeries at Corrupt Hospital

 LOS ANGELES – An orthopedic surgeon has been found guilty by a federal jury of accepting more than $315,000 in bribes and kickbacks for performing spinal surgeries at a now-defunct Long Beach hospital whose owner was imprisoned for committing a massive workers’ compensation insurance fraud, the Justice Department announced today. 

Dr. David Hobart Payne, 65, of Irvine, was found guilty late Friday afternoon at the conclusion of a six-day trial. The jury found Payne guilty of one count of conspiracy, two counts of honest services wire fraud, and one count of use of an interstate facility in aid of bribery.  

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Michael Drobot –the owner of Pacific Hospital – conspired with doctors, chiropractors, and marketers to pay kickbacks and bribes in return for the referral of patients to Pacific Hospital for spinal surgeries and other medical services. These services and surgeries were paid for primarily through the California workers’ compensation system. During its final five years, the scheme resulted in the submission of more than $500 million in medical bills for spinal surgeries involving kickbacks. 

Read the entire press release.  United States Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, March 6, 2023