Pacific Hospital of Long Beach
Pacific Hospital of Long Beach.

The ex-owner of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, who served prison time for running a massive workers’ compensation fraud scheme involving spinal surgeries, was sentenced Friday to 15 months behind bars for selling off his luxury cars and keeping the money for himself instead of forfeiting the cash to the government as ordered.

Michael D. Drobot, 79, formerly of Corona Del Mar, pleaded guilty in 2019 to federal charges of wire fraud, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity and criminal contempt of court.

In the related fraud case, Drobot pleaded guilty in 2014 to conspiracy and paying illegal kickbacks, admitting he paid millions of dollars in bribes to doctors who in turn steered hundreds of millions of dollars in spinal surgeries to his now-defunct hospital.

He was sentenced to five years in prison in January 2018 and ordered to forfeit $10 million to the government, in part by selling off a 1965 Aston Martin, a 1958 Porsche and a 1971 Mercedes-Benz. But federal prosecutors say he arranged a $1 million transfer of the Aston Martin to a car-auction company, and the money was moved into Drobot’s own bank account and used for personal expenses instead of being put toward satisfying the court judgment.

After Drobot violated the forfeiture order, the government seized his Newport Beach home, his warehouse, and other assets, papers filed in LosAngeles federal court show.

Drobot was released from federal prison in February in the kickbacks case.

To date, two-dozen defendants, among them doctors, surgeons and Drobot’s son, have been convicted for participating in the billing scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.