City of Angels Medical Center’s chief executive has pleaded guilty to paying kickbacks to the homeless. The Los Angeles hospital had created a scheme in which it provided unnecessary medical services to homeless individuals covered under Medicare and Medi-Cal, and then fraudulently billed the government for the unnecessary medical care. The homeless were paid illegal kickbacks for their participation in the scheme.
Dr. Rudra Sabaratnam admitted to paying kickbacks to individuals recruited from “Skid Row” in Los Angeles. Estill Mitts, the operator of Skid Row’s Assessment Center/7th Street Christian Day Center, also admitted to his participation in the swindle, pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and other crimes. Prosecutors charged that Mitts opened the center for the purpose of recruiting homeless individuals to participate in Sabaratnam’s fraudulent scheme. Mitts hired “stringers” to bring in the homeless beneficiaries and then gave them transportation to the City of Angels medical facility. Sabaratnam paid kickbacks to Mitts and Mitts paid kickbacks to the homeless recruits.
Sabaratnam has agreed to pay restitution to Medicare and Medi-Cal. Sabaratnam will appear for sentencing in June.
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