Since You Asked: Yuba City doctor has pleaded guilty
Q: What is happening with the case against Dr. Irving Schwartz, the Yuba City doctor charged with Medicare fraud?
A: Dr. Irving J. Schwartz pleaded guilty on Jan. 31 to a single count of conspiracy to receive health care kickbacks, according to the US Attorney's Office.
Schwartz admitted writing at least 186 fraudulent prescriptions for power wheelchairs between July 2007 and September 2008, mostly in El Centro. The doctor pocketed $300 for each phony claim and acknowledged receiving more than $55,000 in bribes and kickbacks, according to the US Attorney's Office.
"When Medicare dollars are wasted on expensive and unnecessary equipment, senior citizens run the risk of not being able to obtain the legitimate medical treatment they need," US Attorney Laura Duffy said in a statement.
Schwartz is scheduled for sentencing May 6 in US District Court in San Diego and faces up to five years in custody and $250,000 in fines, as well as mandatory restitution.
The general medical practitioner was indicted in June as part of the $1.3 million Medicare scam.
Jennifer Smith, a spokeswoman for the state Medical Board, could not comment specifically on the case against Schwartz, but said the board has taken actions in the past against doctors convicted of similar crimes.
Potential disciplinary actions range from a formal letter of reprimand or probation to revoking a physician's license.
Schwartz opened his Yuba City office in September 2007 on Queens Avenue.
No more Trophies?
Q: Recently I noticed that Twin City Trophies is not operating at their store at the corner of Sutter and Bridge streets. Is this another business that has closed down in Yuba City?
A: No, Twin City Trophies has not closed. The business moved at the beginning of February to a new location at 463 Palora Avenue in Yuba City.
Owner Brandon Asher said he wanted to take his business to a better neighborhood.
"We'd had some customers who were uncomfortable with some of the transient population around the old store," Asher explained, "and we'd had some problems with vandalism."
Asher, who took over the store in 2003, said windows were broken out several times over the last six months.
"We were able to move into a newer building and we got to remodel it the way we wanted," Asher said. "We should save on (utilities) in this building."
Another plus for the business, which originally opened in Yuba City in 1974, is additional space for parking, which was an issue for customers at the old location, Asher said.
"Traffic in that area was kind of a problem," Asher said. "Now it's a little easier for our customers to get in and out."