A former California doctor, currently imprisoned for a lucrative spinal surgery fraud scheme, is now facing new criminal charges after selling his classic cars in violation of a court order.
Michael D. Drobot pleaded guilty in 2014 to charges of conspiracy and paying illegal kickbacks, part of a bribery scheme the U.S. Department of Justice says directed hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of spinal surgeries to his hospital. He made millions of dollars for himself and was sentenced to five years in prison, in part for agreeing to testify against a former California state senator also involved in the scheme. Now he's facing additional criminal charges - and decades more in prison.
Selling luxury cars and keeping the proceeds
As part of the 2014 plea agreement, Drobot had to forfeit $10 million to the U.S. government. That included a stipulation he do so using any money he might earn by selling his classic cars.
Now, the Department of Justice is accusing the 74-year-old Drobot of violating that court order. For example, according to the charges, he conveyed interest in one of the cars - a 1965 Aston Martin - to an auction company, receiving a $1 million advance. Rather than using that money to pay what he owed to the government, he's accused of keeping the proceeds.
The U.S. Attorney's Office Central District of California charged Drobot with wire fraud, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity and criminal contempt of court. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of 50 years in prison. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, he has agreed to plead guilty.
When facing these types of serious criminal charges, especially those with the weight of the Department of Justice behind them, it's vital to have a defense attorney that knows all of your legal options. A strong lawyer may be able to find creative solutions to lessen the case's impact on your life while defending against the charges.