California nursing exec gets six years in prison for Medicare fraud

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The former chief of a California nursing home has been handed a six-and-a-half year prison sentence for his role in fraudulently inflating Medicare reimbursement payments by about $3 million through the late 1990s and beyond.

St. Luke's Subacute Hospital and Nursing Centre in San Leandro, CA, also was placed on five years probation for the crimes, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California.

A federal grand jury indicted CEO Guy Roland Seaton and the facility, which is also known as Seaton Rehabilitation Hospital, in May 2001 on charges including conspiracy, false claims counts, submitting false statements, obstruction of federal auditing, and aiding and abetting. The indictment capped a nine-year investigation by multiple federal agencies. Convictions followed in December 2002.

Prosecutors said Seaton used his 72-bed facility to file fraudulent nursing costs to fiscal intermediary Mutual of Omaha. Authorities said Seaton told employees to falsify nursing schedules for investigators, who wound up uncovering the ploy by comparing those submissions with even earlier records.

Seaton and the facility also must pay restitution, and Seaton will serve three years of supervised release after his prison term.

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