LONG BEACH (CNS) - A physician who worked as the medical director of an addiction treatment facility in Long Beach was sentenced today to seven years and eight months in state prison in connection with a Medi-Cal fraudscheme that resulted in more than $2.8 million in losses between 2009 and 2013, the California Attorney General's Office announced.
Howard Wallace Oliver, 74, was convicted Sept. 15 of Medi-Cal fraud, insurance fraud, grand theft, fraudulent claims, conspiracy and tax evasion.
Oliver was responsible for approving all substance disorder treatment services, and jurors were shown more than 700 patient charts bearing his signature that approved treatment without medical justification even after counselors at West Coast Counseling Services told him repeatedly that they were ordered to make up charts for ``ghost patients,'' according to the Attorney General's Office.
A restitution hearing is set Dec. 29.
Three others pleaded no contest or guilty to charges stemming from the scheme.
Lou Cannon, identified by prosecutors as the facility's chief executive officer, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is set to be sentenced next month.
Juanita Antiporda, the facility's program director, pleaded guilty to grand theft and is awaiting sentencing next August.
Perry Bailey, a supervisor at the facility, pleaded no contest to conspiring to commit grand theft and Medi-Cal fraud and was sentenced to two years in county jail.
``The leadership of West Coast Counseling was trusted to provide vital services to people in their community who were battling addiction. Instead, they set up the facility to steal taxpayer money and diverted millions from state resources to their own gain,'' Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. ``Medi-Cal is vital to California, providing essential health care to the state's most vulnerable residents. We are committed to protecting Medi-Cal and holding accountable those who commit crimes against the program.''
The case stemmed from an investigation by the Department of Justice's Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, which was referred the matter by the California Department of Health Care Services.
Photo: Getty Images