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Former Pacific Hospital owner Michael Drobot pleaded guilty on Thursday to federal charges related to his role in a medical fraud scheme that authorities have said may be the largest of its kind in California history. Drobot, who agreed to plead guilty in February, is scheduled to be sentenced in December, according to the story in the Press Telegram.

Federal prosecutors charged Drobot, who lives in Corona del Mar, with conspiracy and paying kickbacks to other doctors in connection with a federal health care program. He faces 10 years in federal prison. As laid out in previous court filings and statements from government officials, Drobot is accused of paying kickbacks of $10,000 to $15,000 to doctors who referred patients to the facility formerly known as Pacific Hospital for spinal surgeries. Drobot paid for the kickbacks by taking advantage of a loophole in California law to overcharge for the reimbursable costs of spinal hardware employed in the surgeries. The activities may have led to as much as $500 million worth of fraudulent claims, mostly filed through the state’s workers compensation system.  As of Thursday, federal officials have not filed charges against anyone else who may have broken the law as part of the conspiracy.

The Drobot case is related to the corruption cases that have been filed against state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, and his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon.  Drobot has told federal officials that he bribed Ron Calderon in order to keep on the books the law that made it possible to seek inflated reimbursements for spinal hardware. Calderon, whom the FBI has also accused of taking bribes from agents posing as filmmakers seeking a more favorable tax credit law, has pleaded not guilty to all charges filed against him. Tom Calderon has also pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and money laundering for allegedly helping his brother commit crimes.

Drobot’s attorney, Jeffrey H. Rutherford, could not be reached for comment Thursday. When Drobot pleaded not guilty for procedural reasons last month, Rutherford said his client was cooperating with an expanding federal investigation. “He has acknowledged and accepts responsibility for his actions,” Rutherford said at the time.

Pacific Hospital is now called College Medical Center. Santa Fe Springs-based College Health Enterprises owns the facility and has hired a Molina Healthcare affiliate to operate it.