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Ex-King/Drew Doctor Faces Tax Charge

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles County district attorney has charged a former radiologist at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center with failing to pay state taxes in 2004, when he was billing the county for marathon shifts at the troubled public hospital in Willowbrook, just south of Watts.

The district attorney’s office Tuesday charged Dr. Harold A. Tate, 46, with one felony count of tax evasion, which carries a maximum term of three years in state prison. The doctor, who no longer lives in California, is expected to be arraigned Oct. 3.

Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley’s Public Integrity Division began its investigation last year after a county health department probe suggested that Tate billed for more hours than he had worked.

The Times reported last year that King/Drew paid more than $1.3 million for Tate’s services between March 2004 and February 2005. The radiologist, who was employed under a contract at the hospital, had said he worked an average of 20 hours a day, seven days a week, during one six-month stretch, records show.

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The county paid Reliable Health Care Services Inc., an agency that supplies temporary workers to hospitals, up to $225 per hour for Tate’s services.

The district attorney’s office said it could find no evidence of other criminal wrongdoing based on the hours Tate worked. His timecards had been approved by hospital personnel and his productivity appeared to be higher than that of any other radiologist at King/Drew, the investigation found.

Tate’s lawyer, Mark Ravis, said that if his client failed to file a tax return, as alleged, it “was most likely an oversight on the part of the accountant or perhaps just an oversight on the part of Dr. Tate.”

Tate never received a notice of taxes owed, Ravis said, and he’s “perfectly ready, willing and able to file any return that hasn’t been filed and pay any tax that’s owed.”

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charles.ornstein@latimes.com


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