Defendants Sentenced to 51 Months in Prison, Ordered To Repay $6.4 Million in Medi-Cal Fraud Case
The former owners of the Los Angeles Bio-Clinical Laboratory, who pled guilty in October to charges of conspiracy and money laundering for billing Medi-Cal $19 million for "bogus" blood tests, were sentenced Monday to 51 months in federal prison and ordered to pay back $6.4 million, the AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 4/8). Luisa Gonzalez and Juan Carlos Ciraolo in October pled guilty in the case, the largest fraud ever committed by a lab against Medi-Cal, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Arian, who prosecuted the case. The laboratory performed tests on blood taken from workers at the Bio-Clinical Laboratory and blood purchased from donors off the street and used patient names and false doctor authorizations obtained from clinics in La Guadalupana and San Gabriel to bill Medi-Cal for the tests (Pugmire, Los Angeles Times, 4/8). The defendants often billed Medi-Cal for the most expensive blood tests, reimbursable at $550 per test. The lab, which closed in 1997, submitted reimbursement bills that totaled $40 million, half of which were fraudulent, the indictment said (California Healthline, 10/3/2002). Dr. Luis Lombardi, who worked at the San Gabriel clinic, was sentenced to probation in February after admitting to selling patient names and false blood test authorizations. Alfredo Morales, the former owner of the La Gudalupana clinic who pleaded guilty to charges of falsifying medical records and purchasing blood, will be sentenced on May 12. Constanza Ciraolo, a former Bio-Clinical receptionist who is Juan Carlos Ciraolo's wife, will be sentenced on April 28, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 4/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.