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THAT DEFRAUDED GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS THROUGH UNNECESSARY TREATMENTS TO HOMELESS
The former co-owner of a Los Angeles-area hospital was arrested this morning on federal charges of paying illegal kickbacks as part of a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medi-Cal by recruiting homeless persons from Los Angeles’ Skid Row.
Robert Bourseau, 74, who maintains residences in Rancho Mirage and downtown Los Angeles, a former co-owner and top executive at City of Angels Medical Center, was arrested this morning without incident at his Los Angeles loft by federal authorities. Bourseau is expected to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
Bourseau and Dante Nicholson, a former City of Angels vice-president, were indicted under seal yesterday by a federal grand in Los Angeles. Also named in the indictment was Intercare Health Systems, the company through which Bourseau and his partner, Rudra Sabaratnam, operated City of Angels. The 12-count indictment, which was unsealed this morning following Bourseau’s arrest, alleges that Intercare, Bourseau, Nicholson and others conspired to recruit homeless people to receive unnecessary health services for the purpose of committing health care fraud.
Nicholson, 51, of Palmdale, will be summoned to appear for an arraignment in federal court in Los Angeles next month.
This is the second indictment brought in the investigation into health care fraud related to Skid Row residents. Last month, Sabaratnam, 64, pleaded guilty to paying illegal kickbacks for patient referrals (see: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2008/153.html). Sabaratnam’s co-defendant, Estill Mitts, 64, of Los Angeles, who operated a center that recruited homeless people to receive unnecessary health services, pleaded guilty in September 2008 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion (see: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2008/121.html). Sabaratnum is scheduled to be sentenced on June 8, and Mitts is scheduled to be sentenced on March 16, both by United States District Judge George H. King.
If convicted of the 12 counts in the indictment, both Bourseau and Nicholson would face maximum potential sentences of 65 years in prison. If convicted, Intercare could be fined as much as $6 million in fines.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.
The indictment unsealed today against Intercare, Bourseau and Nicholson is part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; IRS-Criminal Investigation Division; the California Department of Justice Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse; and the Health and Law Enforcement Team (HALT), a multi-agency task force which is operated by the Los Angeles County Health Department.
Anyone with information that could assist the ongoing investigation is encouraged to contact investigators with the Department of Health and Human Services by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS, or emailing HHSTips@oig.hhs.gov.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Vince Farhat
Major Frauds Section
Assistant United States Attorney Consuelo S. Woodhead
Healthcare Fraud Coordinator
Release No. 09-007