Will I Go to Jail If Charged with Health Care Fraud in California?
California Penal Code 550(a) PC prohibits most types of health care and medical billing fraud.
Health care fraud in California is a broad term that is frequently called insurance fraud, medical billing fraud, Medicare fraud or Medi-Cal Fraud.
Most patients pay their health care expenses through either a private insurance company or government medical insurance. Since the process of making health care payments are complex, it makes it much easier to commit fraud.
Some of the most common schemes that violate Penal Code 550(a) PC heath care fraud laws include the following:
- submitting false health care claims,
- preparation of a document in support of a false claim,
- submitting multiple claims for same procedure,
- billing for services that a patient never received,
- billing for more expensive services a patient did receive.
In order for a prosecutor to obtain a conviction for health care fraud, they will have to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that you knew the claim was false or fraudulent, and you had a specific intent to defraud the medical insurance company or the insurance program.
What Primary Factors Are Prosecutors Looking At?
Whenever it comes to messing around with government money, stealing from the government in the form of something related to healthcare fraud, you can bet the prosecutors and judge on your case are going to be looking to punish you in kind for what you did:
- They’re going to look at the amount of health care fraud involved;
- They’re going to look at the sophistication level;
- They’re going to look at how many victims there were, and
- they’re going to formulate a plan to try to put you away for as long as possible.
A lot of times these health care fraud schemes can be prosecuted at either the state or federal level, depending on the sophistication, how much money was involved and who was involved.
If you’re talking about doctors being involved or lawyers being involved, more than likely that case is going to go federal and they’re going to be looking to put the person away in federal prison at an 85% rate of the time that they’re doing.
So, you can see that these cases are handled very harshly and by the best prosecutors.
Defending California Health Care Fraud Cases
So, if you’re looking to defend yourself, you’re going to want to get the best criminal defense attorney on your side. I’ve been doing this now for almost three decades.
I’ve seen how they prosecute healthcare fraud cases in Los Angeles. I’ve seen how judges evaluate cases when they’re formulating what they’re going to do as far as their decision-making process.
I’ve defended cases at the federal level. I’ve defended cases at the state level. I’ve handled thousands of healthcare fraud related cases in LA county for many years.
The first thing I have you do is come in my office and sit down and we go over everything.
I need all the details from you — the stuff that helps you story and the stuff that might hurt your story — that way I have all the pieces of the puzzle and I can best figure out what the best game plan is for you, your circumstances if you’re charged with healthcare fraud in California.
Once we’ve got that plan together, then we’re going to start talking about what you’re looking at, what you’re facing, what you can do to help me so you can end up with the best result and what I’m going to do for you moving forward in your case.
Health Care Fraud Prosecutors in Los Angeles
Healthcare fraud is treated very seriously because there are thousands of dollars — millions of dollars — at stake when you look at the whole health care system.
So, if people are stealing money from the government, stealing thousands of dollars — and there’s a lot of people doing it, then it will break the system.
It will cause the system to collapse, and that’s why the feds have put an office in LA county. All they do is prosecute health care fraud cases. The District Attorney’s office in Los Angeles County has healthcare fraud prosecutors.
They’ve got a separate section which has a head prosecutor, an assistant prosecutor and a bunch of deputies that go after people who commit healthcare fraud.
Developing a Strategy to Fight Health Care Charges
Sometimes it’s going to be a situation where you’re getting swept up by a net and you’re innocent. Other times, it’s going to be a situation where you’re guilty and they’ve got the evidence, but maybe they’re not looking at the case the right way.
Maybe they’re thinking that you’re more involved than you actually are. Other times, they’ll have it exactly right, but that doesn’t mean that the sentence and the punishment is going to be the same every time.
You need someone who’s going to fight for you. You need someone who’s going to go to bat for you and figure out what can be done to get you the result you must have — not just for you, but for your family, your future.
Do you want to go into custody for three to five years, for example, and then you don’t have the ability to pay the money back because you can’t work?
The prosecutors will take this into consideration. If you can get that money upfront to pay them back, whatever it is you’re involved with, you’re now in a good position. You now have some leverage.
If you have no prior criminal record, never been in trouble before, you’ve got some leverage. If you’ve got a great criminal defense attorney by your side, you’ve got some leverage because that attorney is going to figure out what it takes to get the result that you must have.
So, first you need to dissect the problem, then you need to dissect how you’re going to attack it, and finally, you and your attorney working together, need to put together a plan that puts you in the best possible position.
Check out my reviews on the internet. Check out my videos that I’ve put out there so people can see who I am and what I’m all about, and then pick up the phone and set the meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you.
So, with that type of organization lined up against you, if you or a loved one is charged or being investigate for healthcare fraud, act immediately. Take the first step. Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.
Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our office a free consultation at (213) 542-0940.