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California surgeon sentenced in hospital kickback scheme

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SANTA ANA — An orthopedic surgeon who received at least $5 million in kickbacks to perform hundreds of spinal operations at a Southern California hospital is going to prison.

Dr. Daniel Capen of Manhattan Beach was sentenced to 2 ½ years in federal prison Friday. He pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and receiving kickbacks.

Prosecutors say Capen was one of many doctors and other medical workers involved in a 15-year-long scheme centered at Pacific Hospital in Long Beach.

Authorities say they were paid to refer thousands of patients for surgeries at the hospital, which submitted some $580 million in insurance bills, mostly to California’s worker compensation system.

The hospital received about $56 million.

Ten people have been convicted in the scheme. Pacific Hospital’s owner, Michael Drobot, is serving a five-year sentence.

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