Former hospital owner will say he bribed senator

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former owner of a tiny orthopedic hospital with an unusually heavy roster of spinal surgery patients has been charged with health care fraud for paying kickbacks in a $500 million scheme to get patients and defraud workers comp insurance providers with the help of a California state senator.

The California insurance commissioner called the 16-year scheme one of the largest workers' compensation fraud cases in the history of the Department of Insurance.

Michael D. Drobot, a central figure in a corruption scandal that ensnared state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon, has agreed to plead guilty and testify against Calderon and others in return for a reduced sentence.

Calderon is charged with accepting $100,000 in bribes and other perks from Drobot to influence legislation that allowed him to continue the scam.

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