Former Tustin Hospital CFO agrees to plead guilty in Skid Row health care fraud

Former chief financial officer of Tustin Hospital and Medical Center Vincent Rubio agreed in a plea agreement filed earlier this week to plead guilty to paying illegal kickbacks for patients recruited from the Skid Row area of Los Angeles.

Rubio admitted paying illegal kickbacks to "marketers" who recruited homeless people from Skid Row and transported them to Tustin Hospital. Rubio also admitted failing to report payments he received from one of the "marketers" on his federal tax returns.

Rubio paid to get homeless Medicare and Medi-Cal beneficiaries referred to Tustin Hospital for in-patient hospital stays. Tustin Hospital entered into "consulting" contracts used to conceal the kickbacks. The patients included homeless who didn't need to be hospitalized.

Rubio is the fifth person charged in relation to Skid Row health care fraud. Estill Mitts pleaded guilty in September 2008 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, money laundering and tax evasion and is scheduled to be sentenced June 21. Rudra Sabaratnam and Robert Bourseau, co-owners of L.A.'s City of Angels Hospital, and Dante Nicholson, senior vice president of City of Angels, have pleaded guilty to paying illegal kickbacks for patient referrals.

Rubio faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in federal prison. He's expected to appear in United States District Court on March 1.

Anyone with information that could assist the ongoing investigation is encouraged to contact Department of Health and Human Services investigators by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS, or by e-mailing HHSTips@oig.hhs.gov.

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