Friday, July 10, 2009

20 arrested in Medi-Cal fraud targeting disabled patients

The LATimes reports that, "Twenty people were arrested yesterday in a $4.6-million Medi-Cal fraud scheme that law enforcement officials allege used unlicensed individuals to provide in-home nursing care for disabled patients. United States Attorney Thomas O'Brien said, "We believe that this is the largest single case alleging Medi-Cal fraud ever filed in the state of California."

About 75 patients, many of them children with cerebral palsy or developmental disabilities, were treated at home or at school by the unlicensed individuals who stole identities to pose as licensed nurses, according to the United States Attorney’s office.

According to the LATimes report, the operation was run by Priscilla Villabroza, who pocketed about $4M dollars in Med-Cal funding from the California government. Villabroza pleaded guilty to five counts of healthcare fraud last year. She is awaiting sentencing and faces up to 50 years in prison.

No reports of deaths relating to the "care" given by Villabroza's team have been reported.

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