lady justice blindfolded holding scales of justiceA 49-year-old Fontana woman could be sentenced to federal prison Monday for paying illegal kickbacks to doctors in exchange for home health care referrals that were billed to Medicare.

Elaine C. Lat — former chief operating officer of Star Home Health in La Verne — pleaded guilty in May to her role in the conspiracy in which she paid physicians to refer Medicare beneficiaries to Star for in-home health services between August 2012 and May 2016. Star then billed the services to Medicare and provided kickbacks.

Lat’s parents and a woman who acted as a go-between have pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to federal charges and face sentencing next year. Dr. Kain Kumar, who operates clinics in the high desert, faces trial in May for his alleged part in the scheme.

Prosecutors contend that in exchange for Medicare referrals, Star’s owners paid Kumar kickbacks of anywhere between $200 to $900 for each beneficiary.

According to the indictment, Star billed Medicare almost $9 million for home health services. Of that, at least $4.3 million was paid to Lat’s company based on bills for services rendered as the result of kickback payments.

—City News Service

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