Nine owners of Florida-based health care corporations were sentenced to prison terms for filing fraudulent claims for Medicare payment for a collective $59,599,832 worth of unnecessary durable medical equipment (DME) and infusion therapy, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The cases were brought through the efforts of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a multi-agency team of federal, state, and local investigators that was designed specifically to combat Medicare fraud in South Florida.
The nine individuals included several owners of fraudulent DME companies that had nothing to do with providing health care or necessary medical equipment. The companies submitted claims to Medicare for unnecessary medical equipment, such as oxygen concentrators, hospital beds, pressure reducing mattresses, orthotics, wound therapy pumps, expensive wound care items, prosthetics, and ostomy supplies; and caused the submission of false claims for pharmaceuticals.
Also among those sentenced was the owner of a fraudulent HIV infusion clinic that billed for unnecessary procedures such as paravertebral joint injections.
The sentences imposed on these individuals ranged from 19 to 87 months in prison. Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher of the DOJ Criminal Division said, “The DOJ places a high priority on investigating and prosecuting those who steal taxpayer money intended to provide health care for the elderly and disabled.”
“The fight against health care fraud in Miami is a top priority,” said Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. “With the help of the newly formed [HHS Office of Inspector General] Florida region, which will add federal agents to our efforts, we expect to see a significant impact on reducing fraud.”