A former Los Angeles physician who unnecessarily referred homeless patients to skilled care facilities following unnecessary hospital care was sentenced to 15 months in prison for fraud. Ovid Mercene, billed Medicare and Medi-Cal nearly $2 million for patients’ hospital and skilled care stays. He received more than $850,000 for treatments, and $700,000 in referral fees.
Mercene and co-conspirators recruited homeless individuals from Los Angeles’ Skid Row area, and reported that they had been transferred to his care from a care consortium. He would administer dozens of unnecessary tests, then discharged the patient to a skilled nursing facility.
Mercene pleaded guilty to the fraud and filing a false tax return in 2013, but was not sentenced until last week. A nursing home and two other physicians who participated in the scam previously agreed to pay the government more than $3.5 million in fines and restitution to close the matter.
Los Angeles fraud attorney
If you’ve been arrested by federal officials for any type of fraud against a government agency, you can be assured that you will be prosecuted vigorously. You need the assistance of an experienced, aggressive federal criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend.
Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense exclusively for more than 30 years, in both federal and state courts. He will fight aggressively to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. When that isn’t possible, he will work with the courts and prosecutors to get the most favorable outcome.
Don’t risk your freedom on an inexperienced attorney, and don’t attempt to defend yourself in court. Federal prosecutors are extremely prepared and very aggressive. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County fraud case.
Photo Credit: Gilbert Mercier, via Flickr.com