U.S. Attorney Talbert and California Attorney General Bonta Announce a Nearly $26 Million Settlement with Medical Provider in the Central Valley
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The founder and former CEO of a chain of Central Valley rural health clinics will sell 13 properties, remitting proceeds to the United States and the state of California, to resolve allegations that she submitted millions of dollars in false claims to Medi‑Cal, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced today.
The Civil and Criminal Divisions of the U.S. Attorney’s Office conducted parallel investigations of Sandra Haar, the founder and chief executive officer of Horisons Unlimited. As a result of the criminal investigation, on Aug. 13, 2018, Haar pleaded guilty to defrauding Medi-Cal and on Nov. 4, 2019, was sentenced to five years in prison.
Horisons Unlimited was a nonprofit that provided health and dental services at eight clinics in Merced and surrounding communities. Between Jan. 1, 2014, and March 2017, Haar billed Medi‑Cal through Horisons for various false and fraudulent claims, including claims for services rendered by unlicensed providers, claims for services that were not rendered at all, claims for office visits that consisted of nothing more than patients picking up controlled substances in plastic baggies in retail parking lots, and claims for unnecessary services. In addition, Haar received illegal kickbacks from an account executive at a Southern California lab. In exchange, Haar directed that lab testing for Horisons’ Medi-Cal patients be conducted at the lab.
The properties to be sold include some former clinics of the now-shuttered Horisons Unlimited as well as several residential properties. Pursuant to the settlement, the Office of Inspector General will be excluding Sandra Haar and a for-profit company Haar controlled from participation in Medicare, Medicaid, and all other Federal healthcare programs for a period of 20 years, and Horisons Unlimited’s chief financial officer, Norman Haar, will be excluded for a period of 15 years.
“The purpose of public insurance programs like Medi-Cal is to provide essential services to those who need them, not to enrich bad actors who submit false and fraudulent claims,” said U.S. Attorney Scott. “We will continue to safeguard the integrity of these programs and the public fisc by recovering public dollars obtained through fraud.”
“Medi-Cal serves vulnerable people who need vital health services. Therefore, when providers steal from this taxpayer-funded program it is a matter of utmost concern,” said Steven J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We will continue working closely with our law enforcement partners to guard the integrity of government health care programs.”
The settlement is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, and the California Department of Health Care Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Vincente A. Tennerelli handled the case for the United States.