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Former Health Clinic Owner Gets 124 Months In Prison For Defrauding Medi-Cal




Medi-Cal is the name of the Medicaid health care program for the state of California. It pays for a variety of medical services for children and adults with limited income and resources. Last year, the Medi-Cal health care program was found to be the victim of fraud at the hands of 59 year-old, Vincenzo Rubino. As reported by the Central District of California branch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Rubino will be doing some significant prison time for his efforts.

 

The report informs that Rubino is the former president and CEO of Santa Maria’s Children and Family Center. It is a medical clinic located in Whittier, California. This past Monday, Rubino was sentenced to 124 months in federal prison. The sentencing follows the Valencia resident’s conviction. He was guilty of submitting fraudulent billings to a Medi-Cal health care program that provides family planning services to low-income Californians who lack health insurance.

 

Just north of ten years, the prison sentence is only part of Rubino’s punishment.

 

He has also been ordered to pay $3,815,478 in restitution. A money judgment of $2,308,028 was also entered in court. “Rubino pleaded guilty in August 2023 to nine counts of health care fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft,” the report informs, “Rubino pleaded guilty mid-trial when the prosecution had nearly finished presenting its case to the jury.”

 

Santa Maria’s Children and Family Center was registered as a non-profit public benefit corporation. It was also enrolled as a Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment (Family PACT) provider run through Medi-Cal. The U.S. Attorney’s Office details that between November 2014 and August 2017, the center submitted fraudulent claims totaling nearly $5 million to the Family PACT program.

 

The claims were for family planning services that were never provided.

 

Often, the bogus claims used the information of patients who were recruited at off-site locations with offers of free diabetes testing. “To submit many of these claims, Rubino used the names of two medical providers who were not employed at Santa Maria’s,” details the report, “The patients did not see these providers – a physician’s assistant and an elderly doctor who was himself a patient in a skilled nursing facility during much of the scheme.”

 

The Medi-Cal program paid more than $2.3 million dollars for the fraudulent claims. In addition, about $1.5 million was given to a pharmacy and laboratory for claims that stemmed from Santa Maria-based referrals based on the same services that were never delivered.

 

United States Attorney Martin Estrada said the following about the case: “This defendant took advantage of health-care services intended for people in need. Instead of allowing that money to go where it was intended, Rubino stole millions of dollars through sham claims to Medi-Cal for family planning services that either were unnecessary or unprovided. Today’s sentence highlights my office’s resolve to protect the most vulnerable in our community.”

 

Are you an attorney who is currently working a healthcare fraud case?

 

The clinical experts at Allegiant Experts can help you! We coordinate and support courageous whistleblowers that shine lights on fraud, waste and abuse. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 407-217-5831. You may also email us at info@allegiantexperts.com.

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