COSTA MESA, Calif. - A $40 million workers' compensation insurance scam was uncovered in Orange County, according to officials.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced several felony charges had been filed against the alleged masterminds: Christopher and Tanya King.
"The Kings are accused of victimizing more than 13,000 patients and collecting over $23 million," Rackauckas said.
The district attorney's office said the Kings used their companies - Monarch Medical Group, King Medical Management and One Source Laboratories - to recruit doctors and pharmacists to prescribe unnecessary treatments for workers' compensation patients.
In return, officials said the doctors and pharmacists received kickbacks.
"These physicians betrayed the trust that patients put in them to put their care first and foremost," California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said.
Rackauckas announced charges were filed against 26 people, including 21 doctors. One scheme alleged the couple worked with Charles Bonner and Mervyn Miller, the owners of Steven's Pharmacy in Costa Mesa.
The district attorney's office said various creams, not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, were produced. The Kings allegedly bought them for $15 to $40, but billed the insurance carriers $250 to $700.
"We've all been appalled to see huge medical bills that appear to be out of proportion to the services and products provided," Rackauckas said.
A pharmacist at Steven's Pharmacy told ABC7 the claims were false. The Kings were also accused of working with doctors to order bogus urine tests.
The number for Monarch Medical has been disconnected. Officials said they hoped the charges would send a message.
"If you're ripping off insurance companies and consumers and employers and ultimately putting patients here at risk, we're going to come after you," Jones said.
If convicted of all charges, Tanya King faces a maximum of 117 years in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Christopher and Tanya King were Orange County residents. The couple is from Beverly Hills.