Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A former San Diego doctor who fleeced taxpayers for office visits and power wheelchairs that patients didn’t need was sentenced Wednesday to nearly four years in custody.

Jason Ling, 43, will also be required to pay nearly $1.5 million in restitution to the state and federal government.

In October 2012, Ling was charged in state and federal court with medical and tax related fraud crimes.

In the federal case, he pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud Medicare by using a “street-level marketer” to refer patients to his Spring Valley medical office. Ling would then bill Medicare for office visits, even though the patients were not sick, according to his federal plea agreement.

Ling also prescribed power wheelchairs and other medical equipment that patients didn’t need, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A separate investigation by the California Department of Justice led to Ling’s arrests and guilty pleas in Superior Court related to medical and tax fraud.

Deputy Attorney General Hardy Gold said Ling even submitted bills to Medicare while he was in jail, claiming he was treating patients as a mobile physician at their home.

Gold said Ling had his medical license revoked last year and won’t be able to practice medicine for 10 years.

The prosecutor said Ling’s conduct constituted an’abuse of trust that “brought shame to his profession.”

But defense attorney Roseline Feral said Ling’s criminal behavior was not representative of his whole life.

“He has done a lot of good,” Feral said. “He basically is a good man. He did dedicate his life to taking care of people.”

Feral said Ling spent a lot of time helping elderly and mentally ill patients.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walsh said Ling’s three-year, eight-month state sentence will run at the same time as his 22-month federal sentence. Ling is scheduled to report for federal custody on Friday.

City News Service