A 62-year-old Santa Ana pharmacy owner pleaded guilty Friday to bilking the state and Orange County out of nearly $2 million.
Divina Villacarlos Catalasan of Cypress pleaded guilty to three felony counts each of making a fraudulent claim for a health benefit and grand theft with sentencing enhancements for white-collar crime exceeding $500,000.
Catalasan is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 20.
Catalasan was the owner of the Quality Care Pharmacy at 2413 S. Fairview St. in Santa Ana at the time of his arrest.
Catalasan operated a “complex and secretive scheme” that bilked MediCal, Medicare and Cal Optima, the county’s insurance program for the needy, Deputy Attorney General Ryan Scott said in court papers.
An audit of financial records from January 2011 through July 2015 showed Catalasan received $1.8 million from the government health programs through “fraudulent claims she submitted for purportedly supplying prescription drugs to Medicare and MediCal recipients,” investigator Ernesto Cambrone alleged in court papers.
“The funds she stole were deposited and intermingled in her personal and business bank accounts,” Cambrone alleged in a court motion seeking to analyze any money the defendant posts for bail to determine if it came from the alleged criminal behavior.
The pharmacy’s clientele consisted of residents of 40 board and care facilities throughout Southern California, according to prosecutors.
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