Merced Former CEO and Licensed Nurse Practitioner Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud
FRESNO, Calif. — Sandra Haar, 57, of Merced, pleaded guilty today to health care fraud and conspiracy to receive kickbacks, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
Haar was the founder and chief executive officer of Horisons Unlimited, a nonprofit public benefit corporation that provided health and dental services in Merced and surrounding communities. According to court documents, between January 1, 2014, and March 2017, Haar orchestrated a scheme to bill Medicare and Medi-Cal for services she knew were not reimbursable, and she profited by over $3.7 million from her fraud. For example, Haar billed Medi‑Cal for health and dental services that were not rendered and for unnecessary health care services. She also billed Medi-Cal for office visits with purportedly licensed doctors when the patients instead were dispensed Suboxone, an opioid medication, in the parking lots of McDonald’s and Rite Aid in baggies.
According to the plea agreement, Haar also received thousands of dollars in kickbacks in cash from an account executive at a laboratory in exchange for using it for Horisons patients’ laboratory testing.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG), the California Department of Health Care Services, and the California Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lee S. Bickley and Michael Tierney are prosecuting the case.
Haar is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on January 28, 2019. Haar faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of twice the value of Haar’s gain. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.