Connecticut Attorney General Warns of
Bogus Medical Board Certification Scam
Targeting Immigrant Doctors

Connecticut Attorney General's Office
Press Release, April 9, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced an investigation—and issued an urgent warning to doctors and consumers—involving the sale of bogus medical board certifications. Blumenthal began an investigation after receiving a complaint from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), one of the largest nationally recognized certifying boards for doctors.

Board certification is not required to practice medicine—as opposed to a valid state medical license, which is necessary—but certification measures expertise and quality in medical knowledge. Certification is essential to recognition as a specialist, including admitting privileges at many hospitals, and assignment as a primary care physician for referrals by many insurance carriers.

Blumenthal's office has learned that an out-of-state individual known as Keith Alan Lasko—who also uses the names K. Lasko, Keith Ferrari, K. Ferrari, and KA James Windsor —has sold phony certifications to doctors in a variety of medical specialties in exchange for submitting only basic information and a substantial fee. At least 130 more complaints have been reported, including at least one in Connecticut. Lasko's alleged scheme particularly targets foreign-born or foreign-taught doctors who may be unaware of the proper certification process.

Blumenthal noted:

Christine Cassel, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine, said:

Board certification in a medical specialty should require a meaningful review of a physician's education and graduate medical training and a test of their knowledge through a psychometrically valid, secure examination. We applaud the Connecticut Attorney General for taking this important step to protect physicians and consumers from people or organizations offering fraudulent certification.

Blumenthal has demanded information from Lasko, a Las Vegas resident, about all bogus certifications, including names and addresses. The bogus board names he offers include the American Board of Geriatric Medicine, the American Board of Geriatrics, The United States Medical Specialists Federation, the American Board of Diabetes, the American Academy of Cardiology, the American College of Christian Physicians, and the American Academy of Oncology. None of these entities are peer-recognized medical boards.

Lasko allegedly solicits physicians by mail, and offers to provide them with certification in a particular medical specialty for a significant fee (in some cases, $500) and only basic information about their practice. The certifications possess no professional or legitimate value. Legitimate medical board certifications generally require a significant amount of training and testing, as well as a thorough medical background review.

Blumenthal said consumers should always research and seek references in selecting a physician.

Doctors or consumers who believe they were victimized by this or a similar scheme should immediately report the incident to the Attorney General's Office by calling (860) 808-5420.

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