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Medical center owner pleads guilty to fraud

On June 28, the owner of Fountain Valley Healthcare Center in Orange County was scheduled to appear in court to plead guilty to several criminal charges. The man was indicted by a grand jury on federal charges in March, 2011. The government claims that the accused man submitted false reimbursement requests to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, obtaining more than three quarters of a million dollars in funds to which he was not entitled.

The scheme allegedly took place over five years. Medicare requires that, for a company to get reimbursement, the patient must have a real medical concern and a real doctor must recommend the patient for treatment. The government claims that the center's owner violated federal rules and forged documents in order to obtain these illegal reimbursements.

In June, the man agreed to a 17-page guilty plea on mail fraud charges. In exchange, the government agreed to dismiss eight other counts against him. The man had been free pending trial after posting an unspecified amount of bail. His plea agreement states that he faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines that total twice the amount that he allegedly took. Sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 8.

When a person is charged with multiple offenses, the judge has the ability to order that sentences be served back-to-back, which means that an accused person can sometimes be put away for a very long time if they are convicted. However, an attorney may be able to help get some of the charges dismissed or negotiate a specific term to help reduce the maximum amount of time that a client has to spend imprisoned.

Source: OC Weekly News, "Orange County Medical Center Owner Finally Admits major Thefts From Medicare", R. Scott Moxley, June 28, 2013

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