(CN) - A doctor who was drummed out of the profession for cheating old people set up a bogus Web site to sell people "illegitimate medical certifications and the right to list 'letters' after their names," the American Board of Surgery claims in Philadelphia Federal Court. It claims Keith A. Lasko named his company the "American Board of General Surgery" to cash in on the legitimate board's name.
The American Board of Surgery, a real, 70-year-old organization, claims Lasko also abused its trademark in naming his Web site, to mislead physicians and falsely claim a relationship with the real Board.
The American Board of Surgery says Lasko has been in trouble with medical authorities since 1991, when the Medical Board of California found that he not subjected old folks to excessive procedures and billed for diagnostic procedures that were not performed.
After California revoked his license, New York, Illinois, and Mississippi followed suit, the Board says.
It adds that in 1997, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration revoked Lasko's certificate of registration, prohibiting him from dispensing prescription drugs.
"After losing his privilege to practice medicine in several states, Lasko create several entities - including the American Board of Hospital Physicians [and the] American College of Ethical Physicians - that sounded as though they were legitimate medical organizations when they were not," the complaint states.
The American Board of Surgery contends these acts - specifically the awarding of certificates for money - "demeans the reputation of legitimate boards" and "misleads consumers into believing that physicians who purchase an ABGS certification possess a level of expertise they lack."
The Board seeks an injunction, statutory and punitive damages for tortious interference, trademark violations, and unfair competition. Lasko now lives in Las Vegas, according to the complaint.
It is represented by Gabriel Bevilacqua and Gregory Wartman with Saul Ewing of Philadelphia.
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