LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An Inglewood woman and her mother-in-law were sentenced Wednesday to federal prison for scheming to defraud Medi-Cal out of more than $500,000, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Mesbel Mohamoud, 48, was sentenced to 18 months and her mother-in-law, 66-year-old Erlinda Abella, was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison, according to the DOJ. They were also ordered to pay $260,101 in restitution each.READ MORE: LA Begins Process To Make Al Fresco Outdoor Dining Program Permanent
According to prosecutors, Mohamoud was the owner and executive director of The New You Center, Inc., a substance abuse treatment facility in the Vermont Knolls neighborhood of South Los Angeles. Abella co-founded the center with Mhamoud in 2005 and was the company’s program director.
The facility was authorized to provide medically necessary services through the Drug Medi-Cal program to adults and teenagers in L.A. County.
From January 2009 to December 2015, prosecutors said the center submitted false and fraudulent claims for counseling sessions that were either not conducted at all, conducted at unauthorized locations or did not comply with Drug Medi-Cal regulations.READ MORE: Pedestrian Killed After Being Struck By Subway Train In Westlake District
The women also billed for clients who did not have substance abuse problems, falsified documents related to services provided to clients and forged client signatures, prosecutors said.
Mohamoud admitted in her plea agreement that she knew Abella directed the center’s counselors to enroll clients in the program even if the clients had used drugs or alcohol only occasionally or even just once.
In total, the center submitted approximately $527,313 in false and fraudulent claims for group and individual substance abuse counseling services and was paid $260,101 on those claims, prosecutors said.MORE NEWS: CDC Advisory Committee Recommends Pfizer's COVID Vaccine For Kids As Young As 12
The women pleaded guilty last November to one count of healthcare fraud.