Lancaster woman among 3 charged in $30 million hospice fraud scheme

A Lancaster woman was arrested Tuesday on federal charges stemming from a scheme that allegedly bilked Medicare out of more than $30 million for hospice services often provided to patients who were not terminally ill.

Callie Jean Black, 63, Dr. Victor Contreras, 66, of Santa Paula, and former Pasadena resident Juanita Antenor, 59, who remains at large and is believed to be in the Philippines, were named in a 14-count indictment unsealed Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Black and Contreras pleaded not guilty following their arrest Tuesday and were granted release on bond.

Antenor owned two hospice companies that billed Medicare and Medi-Cal for unnecessary services or services that were never provided, prosecutors allege.

RELATED: 14 in Inland Empire arrested in $4.2M Medicare, Medi-Cal fraud scam

Contreras, who was on probation imposed by the California Medical Board while he was allegedly part of the scheme, provided fraudulent certifications for some of the patients, including some he claimed to have examined but never actually saw, according to the indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court.

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Antenor allegedly paid marketers, including Black, illegal kickbacks for the patients referred to the two hospice companies.

Antenor and Contreras are charged with multiple counts of health care fraud, and Antenor is additionally charged with multiple counts of paying illegal kickbacks for health care referrals.

Black is charged with four counts of receiving illegal kickbacks, which carries a sentence of up to 40 years behind bars, prosecutors said.

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