Using Homeless to Defraud Medicare


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Robert Bourseau, co-owner of City of Angels Medical Center, pleaded guilty in June 2009 to paying illegal kickbacks to employees who would recruit unnecessary homeless patients from Skid Row.  Bourseau and co-owner Rudra Sabartum, 65, paid a recruiter approximately $500,000 between 2004 and 2007.

After administering unnecessary care to the recruited homeless patients they would be ordered to stay at the medical center.  Bourseau and Sabartum would then bill the government for the extended care of these superfluous patients.  According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office, the patients would receive a maximum $100 payment for their cooperation.

U.S. District Judge George H. King said that such schemes “degrade the health care system, all because of greed and money.”

Sabartum pleaded guilty in 2008 and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 5, 2010.  Both men agreed to pay $10 million in order to settle a state and federal fraud lawsuit.

Two other men pleaded guilty alongside Bourseau and Sabartum.  These men include Dante Nicholson, the hospital’s former Sr. Vice President, and Estill Mills, recruiter.

Mills pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion.  He said he’d secure about $20,000 per month in kickbacks while delivering between 30 and 50 patients per month.  Mills and Nicholson currently await sentencing.




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