- Associated Press - Friday, February 14, 2020

DENVER (AP) - A Colorado neurosurgeon and two companies he owned have paid the United States $2.35 million to resolve civil allegations involving claims of illegal kickbacks, officials said.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Dr. William Choi received money from distributors of spinal implant devices that he used in surgeries, The Denver Post reported Wednesday.

The federal Anti-Kickback Statute protects patients whose medical expenses are paid from federal health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Choi performed surgeries at Sky Ridge Medical Center, Castle Rock Adventist and Porter Adventist hospitals.

Choi created two distributorships of spinal equipment called Nexus Spine LLC and 4D Spine LLC in 2011 and 2015, authorities said.

The distributorships provided spinal implant equipment such as rods, screws and cages to hospitals for use in surgeries Choi performed.

Choi arranged for third parties to serve as registered owners of Nexus and 4D while he secretly maintained control of both distributorships and the money they made, authorities said.

Choi solicited and received improper payments from November 2012 through June 2017, as well as other benefits, prosecutors said.

The civil agreement did not require Choi to admit liability. Choi did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment Friday.

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