The owner of a California durable medical equipment firm was recently found guilty of Medicare fraud. The scheme resulted in more than $11 million dollars in fraudulent Medicare charges. Los Angeles false claims attorneys say that Medicare fraud is a problem that is continuing to grow, at the expense of taxpayers.
According to court documents, the defendant owned a fraudulent durable medical equipment company that operated in the greater Los Angeles area. It operated out of a typical commercial building. A co-defendant in the case is the father of the defendant, a church pastor. The co-defendant plead guilty to Medicare fraud and money laundering in 2012 for his role in operating another durable medical equipment company that operated out of the same building. Court documents showed that the two fraudulent durable medical supply companies combined submitted more than $11 million dollars in fraudulent claims for expensive power wheelchairs, hospital braces, beds and other equipment that customers either did not need or receive.
Evidence presented at trial showed that the defendants purchased the high end wheelchairs for about $900 dollars per wheelchair. However, they billed Medicare at $4,000 to $5,000 dollars per wheelchair. These kind of specialized wheelchairs are designed for people with severe mobility restrictions and can be dangerous if given to customers without a legitimate need for them.
As part of the Medicare fraud scheme, the defendants paid kickbacks to patient recruiters who would locate senior citizens with Medicare or Medi-Cal and harass the seniors into agreeing to accept the power wheelchairs and other medical equipment they did not need. The senior citizens were sent to doctors who received cash payments between $200 to $1,000 dollars to write prescriptions and provide other Medicare documents that the defendants utilized in submitting the fraudulent claims.
Between 2005 and 2011, the defendants and those working with them submitted more than $11 million dollars in fraudulent Medicare claims and received more than $5 million dollars in payments for those claims. The defendants could receive a maximum of 10 years in prison for each count of conviction. Sentencing is scheduled to take place in August and October of this year.
This case was investigated by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is now operating in nine cities and has charged more than 1,500 defendants for various Medicare fraud schemes. Those 1,500 defendants have collectively submitted more than $5 billion dollars in Medicare claims.
Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles whistleblower/false claims, consumer fraud class actions, insurance and banking fraud, consumer product liability, elder abuse, and personal injury cases. If you think that you have witnessed or are the victim of financial fraud by an insurance company, bank or individual then, contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669 for a free and confidential consultation, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.