The Washington Post

Dermatologist who worked in Virginia, the District indicted on fraud charges

A McLean dermatologist has been accused of intentionally misdiagnosing patients with skin cancer and performing unnecessary surgeries as part of a complex health-care fraud scheme.

Amir Bajoghli, 44, owner of the Skin & Laser Surgery Center, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Alexandria on Tuesday on 60 counts of fraud, aggravated identity theft and other charges.

Bajoghli operated offices in Stafford, Vienna, Woodbridge and the District. According to the indictment, between 2009 and 2012, Bajoghli performed the procedures on patients’ benign skin tissue and submitted claims to health-care benefit programs on the basis of fraudulent skin-cancer diagnosis codes.

A man who answered the phone at Bajoghli’s residence Tuesday said, “Someone will call you back,” and hung up. The call was not returned, and no one answered subsequent calls to the residence by a Washington Post reporter.

In recent years, Washingtonian magazine had named Bajoghli one of the region’s top dermatologists as part of its annual “Best Of” issues.

According to the indictment, Bajoghli billed health-care benefit programs for surgeries he did not perform.

Prosecutors also alleged that as Bajoghli was busy seeing patients at his various offices, he had his unlicensed and unqualified medical assistants perform wound closures, sutures and skin grafts unsupervised. In addition, Bajoghli also allegedly billed for procedures performed by his nurse practitioner or assistant when he was not at the office. At times, according to the indictment, his billing made it appear as though he was seeing patients at three locations at once.

During the investigation, prosecutors said, Bajoghli ordered his staff to tell select patients that he had performed their wound closures even if he hadn’t. He also is charged with obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors also alleged that Bajoghli directed his employees to improperly dispose of medical waste at his practices.

If convicted, Bajoghli could face a maximum of 10 years in prison on each health-care-fraud count, a mandatory two years for each identity-theft count and a maximum of 20 years for the obstruction-of-justice count.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.



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