Former Daphne doctor convicted of failing to pay restitution

Dr. Rassan Tarabein ... convicted of federal charges.
Dr. Rassan Tarabein ... convicted of federal charges.(FOX10 News)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 9:52 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A jury on Friday found a former Daphne doctor guilty of aggravated identity theft and of willfully failing to pay restitution from a previous health care fraud case.

Rassan Tarabein pleaded guilty in 2017 to allegations that he ran an insurance scam in which he induced patients to visit his pain clinic so that he could bill health care benefit programs for medically unnecessary tests and procedures. As part of his sentence, a judge ordered him to pay more than $15 million in restitution.

Federal prosecutors presented evidence that in early 2018, while awaiting sentencing, Tarabein issued cashier’s checks worth more than $100,000 to himself without the court’s approval. The jury found that he falsely represented to his probation officer that the checks were for payment of bills.

Although sentenced to five years in prison in 2018, prison officials released him to home confinement in November 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During that period, while on house arrest in Fairhope, Tarabein re-issued the 2018 cashier’s check to himself, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors presented evidence that from 2020 to 2022, Tarabein made no payments toward his restitution obligation. Instead, the evidence suggested that Tarabein had access to and spent large sums of money on himself.

The jury heard evidence that he fraudulently deposited money into his bank account in December using information from another account that he had agreed to forfeit and that had been closed years earlier as part of his health care fraud conviction in 2017.

Prosecutors also presented evidence that Tarabein made false statements to his probation officer early this year in his financial disclosures while continuing to conceal assets.

Prosecutors showed jurors evidence that the FBI obtained in April when they arrested Tarabein as he was about to board a flight in Pensacola bound for Syria. That included a $31,000 counterfeit check dated March 2022 from a business in Georgia made payable to Tarabein at his address in Fairhope. The counterfeit check bore the name and signature of a representative of the business, which had previously lost tens of thousands of dollars from a successful deposit of a nearly identical fraudulent check months earlier.

Chief U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Beaverstock scheduled sentencing for January. Tarabein faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, although the actual punishment likely will be less under advisory sentencing guidelines.

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