Charges allege Southern California hospice care fraud
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (AP) — Sixteen people have been charged with defrauding the California Medi-Cal and federal Medicare systems of more than $4.2 million by enrolling people who were not terminally ill into hospice care, authorities said Thursday.
Fourteen of the individuals charged in San Bernardino County Superior Court have been arrested, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced during a press conference at the Rancho Cucamonga courthouse. Two defendants remain at large.
The allegations involve two locally based companies, New Hope Hospice Inc. and Sterling Hospice Care Inc., and span the period from 2015 to 2021.
Many of the patients told investigators that they were enrolled in hospice care without their knowledge or understanding of what hospice is, according to prosecutors.
“The crimes allegedly committed by the defendants against their patients, Medicare, and our state’s Medi-Cal program will not be tolerated,” Bonta said in a statement.
Charges in the case include conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, insurance fraud, grand theft and fraudulent insurance claims. Some defendants also face charges related to identity theft, money laundering and tax evasion.
Calls to New Hope Hospice in Upland to seek comment rang busy and disconnected. A call to Sterling Hospice Care in Colton was answered by a recording that said the number was not set up to receive calls.