Officials Expand Probe of Paramount Clinic

Expanding a probe into a possible Medi-Cal fraud scheme involving a Paramount clinic, investigators executed two more search warrants Monday, one at the home of the clinic's operator and the other at a second clinic where she worked.

Investigators from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and the Sheriff's Department swooped down shortly before noon on Dr. Candace Chang's home in Monterey Park and a Long Beach clinic where she practiced, authorities said.

Criminal charges have not been filed in connection with the investigation, which until now has concentrated on the Paramount Medical Center, said Deputy Carrie Stuart. The center, which was operated by Chang, has remained closed since investigators removed billing and medical records two weeks ago.

The clinic is suspected of recruiting children from low-income neighborhoods to give blood samples and undergo unnecessary tests, as well as improperly billing a state family planning program, according to a memo from the chief of the county health department's inspection and audit division.

Once the children had blood drawn or underwent examinations, Medi-Cal would be billed for the tests, investigators said. The tests generally cost the state $100 to $300, but some ran as high as $1,200, investigators said.

Investigators are examining allegations that the clinic gave gynecological exams to girls as young as 9, telling them to lie about their ages, and paid employees for each patient that they rounded up and brought to the clinic.

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