Broward County

Ex-exec at Hollywood facility admits to Medicare fraud

A former longtime executive at Hollywood Pavilion, a psychiatric facility, pleaded guilty Tuesday to Medicare fraud charges stemming from $67 million in bogus billings to the taxpayer-funded program.

Christopher Gabel, 61, of Davie, the former chief operating officer, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit healthcare fraud and pay kickbacks to patient recruiters.

In court papers, Gabel admitted that Hollywood Pavilion submitted false claims for mental health treatment that was not necessary or provided to patients between 2003 and 2012. Medicare paid out $40 million for those claims.

Gabel was the supervisor of both inpatient and outpatient facilities, where Medicare beneficiaries were admitted regardless of whether they qualified for treatment or even saw a doctor.

Gabel, represented by defense attorneys Bruce Lehr and Andrew Levi, is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 26 before U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga. Last year, Hollywood Pavilion’s chief executive and others were convicted at trial and given lengthy sentences.