A Los Angeles County doctor has pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion charges, stemming from activities designed to defraud Medicare and Medi-Cal. Between 2008 and 2012, the man provided unnecessary medical treatments to homeless persons in Southeastern Los Angeles County.

The case is the first of a number of similar cases that have been investigated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Office of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Inspector General and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse.

The doctor admitted patients to an unnamed Los Angeles hospital after claiming that they had been referred from a “care consortium” and billed Medicare and Medi-Cal more than $1.8 million dollars for unnecessary tests, care and procedures. Over the course of the fraud, the doctor collected more than $850,000 in fees as well as an additional $700,000 in cash from referrals to skilled nursing facilities, which he failed to declare on his federal tax returns.

In early 2013, Pacific Health Corporation suspended its activities at three hospitals, as part of a $16.5 million settlement with the Department of Health and Human Services over the company’s practice of recruiting homeless persons to act as patients and then submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal for payment.

In this case, the doctor pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion charges, but also could have been charged in the larger Medicare/Medi-Cal fraud schemes.  Tax evasion is described in Title 26 of the US Code and is applied to persons who attempt to avoid paying taxes on income. Federal penalties for tax evasion and tax fraud vary, depending upon the circumstances of the fraud. A simple tax evasion conviction can net fines and a federal prison sentence of up to five years.

If you have been accused of any federal fraud charges related to Medicare, you need the assistance of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney like Robert M. Helfend. Mr. Helfend has 30 years of experience exclusively in criminal defense. Please contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Helfend toll-free at (800) 834-6434 or locally at (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for a consultation.  Robert M. Helfend is an experienced Federal criminal defense attorney who can help!

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