Santa Monica Doctor Arrested on State Income Tax Evasion

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$5.2 million in unreported income for 2002 – 2004

A Santa Monica physician was arrested today on three felony charges of state income tax evasion, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced.

Barnett J.W. Grier, Jr., 63, a self-employed physician who appears to be residing between Santa Monica and Plumas County in northern California was arrested without incident this morning by FTB special investigators. According to investigators, Grier allegedly failed to file state income tax returns for 2002 – 2004 failing to claim the more than $5.2 million he earned during these years. He was employed by a Plumas County medical clinic at the time of his arrest.

Each felony count carries a maximum term of three years in state prison.

This marks the sixth arrest by FTB who have been working with the Los Angeles County District Attorneys Fraud Interdiction Program. In 2004, District Attorney Steve Cooley launched the program to more effectively investigate and prosecute health care fraud cases, which cost health insurers and government-funded health plans over $100 billion nationally each year. The program targets attorneys, medical doctors, chiropractors, dentists and clinic owners who have allegedly engaged in health care fraud. The program was designed and implemented by Deputy District Attorney Al MacKenzie, who has more than 30 years experience as a prosecutor.

Since the program’s inception, the most blatant abusers of health care insurance fraud have been convicted and sentenced to prison. FTB is working on over 40 other cases concerning health care providers involved in tax evasion from health care insurance fraud.

The most common health care fraud schemes include billing for services not rendered or medically unnecessary, double billing for services, and engaging in kickbacks.

Grier was booked into the Los Angeles Inmate Reception Center. Bail is set at $1 million. The date for his arraignment has not been set.

Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney Amy Suehiro is prosecuting the case. This is a joint investigation between the Los Angeles District Attorney, the California Department of Justice, and the Franchise Tax Board.

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