Doctor gets year in prison for $11M Medicare fraud

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California doctor has been sentenced to prison for an $11 million Medicare scheme that paid kickbacks to patients recruited on Skid Row.

Federal prosecutors say 61-year-old Dr. Kenneth Thaler of Westminster will spend a year in jail. He can no longer practice medicine.

The Orange County doctor admitted about 60 people a month into Tustin Hospital Medical Center even though many didn’t require hospitalization.

The patients recruited on Skid Row in Los Angeles were coached to recite false symptoms.

Prosecutors said Thaler had faced a longer prison sentence but he cooperated with investigators.

Another defendant, 68-year-old Estill Mitts, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, money laundering and tax evasion. He will be sentenced next month.

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