Filipinos are among the 20 people arrested Friday by US authorities for allegedly defrauding Medi-Cal of nearly $4.6 million by deploying unlicensed persons to provide in-home care to a number of disabled patients many of them children with developmental disabilities and then billing Medi-Cal for reimbursements. The 20 people arrested are among 42 individuals indicted on June 25 by a federal grand jury for health care fraud.
Two other Filipinas were indicted last year for organizing and running the scam. Priscilla Villabroza, a registered nurse who established and ran Medcare Plus Home Health Providers, pleaded guilty in court last year to five counts of health care fraud. One of her assistants, Susan Bendigo who is also a registered nurse was indicted last year but fled the United States before agents could arrest her and is believed to be hiding in the Philippines.
The case has generated much public resentment occurring as it does in the midst of a severe economic crisis in the United States.
The arrests and indictments are part of Operation License Integrity conducted jointly by a composite team led by the FBI and the US Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien said that "this is the largest single case alleging Medi-Cal fraud eveer filed in the state [California]." He added that "the nearly four dozen people associated with this fraud ring not only cheated taxpayers, they endangered the lives of young people they promised to protect and care for."
More on this story in this ABS-CBN North American Bureau report by Joseph Pimentel via kyte.tv: