A Miami woman was sentenced to 91 months in Federal prison last week after pleading guilty to involvement in a scheme to defraud Medicare of $2.5 million.
The 54-year-old woman formerly owned a clinic in Miami that offered home health care services to Medicare beneficiaries. Per investigators, the woman sought out and accepted kickbacks from patient recruiters and owners of other Miami-area health care providers in exchange for providing prescriptions for home health care services.
Per her admissions as part of the plea deal, the prescriptions she wrote were used by the home health care companies for billing Medicare for related services allegedly provided to Medicare beneficiaries. In addition to accepting kickbacks for prescriptions, investigators said she paid kickbacks herself to physicians to encourage them to write fraudulent prescriptions. Investigators say her clinic also billed Medicare directly for procedures it never carried out as well.
Along with serving over 7-1/2 years in Federal custody without parole, the woman will also be responsible for reimbursing the Federal government the $2.5 million she allegedly fraudulently received from Medicare.
The charges to which the defendant pled guilty were brought to Federal prosecutors by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is a team composed of agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. Since the spring of 2007 the Task Force has charged almost 4,000 individuals with alleged Medicare fraud of over $14 billion.