LA man admits to paying homeless to be hospitalized

A Los Angeles man tied to the scandal over hospitals allegedly paying homeless people to be admitted has copped to his part in the scheme. Estill Mitts has entered a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, under which he admitted that he paid homeless people to fake illnesses and be admitted to three for-profit hospitals as a means of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid. According to prosecutors, Mitts deprived state and federal programs of at least $11.8 million, which he will be required to repay.

In his plea agreement, Mitts conceded that that from 2004 to 2007, he operated the 7th Street Christian Day Center on LA's Skid Row, handing out "production" money to stringers whose job it was to recruit homeless people. The homeless who agreed to the scheme were given phony assessments at the center and referred to City of Angels Medical Center and two other facilities. Mitts then entered into fraudulent consulting contracts with the hospitals to disguise the fact that he was getting kickbacks for the patients he brought to the hospitals.

Charges against Rudra Sabaratnam, owner and CEO of City of Angels Medical Center, are still pending.

To learn more about the case:
- read this Modern Healthcare article

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