Owners of Durable Medical Equipment Companies Indicted for Submitting False Billings to Medicare
Operated Sham Medical Supply Companies in Louisville; Supplies Billed to Medicare Included Deceased Patients
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 02, 2011|
LOUISVILLE, KY—A federal grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky has returned a 13-count indictment charging the owners of two durable medical equipment companies with conspiracy, health care fraud, submitting false claims and wire fraud announced David J. Hale, United State Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.
The indictment alleges that between September 2007 through November 2008, Yunior Lopez, age 34, of Miami, Florida and Arturo Esquivel, age 39, of Hialeah, Florida, through their corporations, Universal of Work Services and Steel Quality Medical, submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare Services for products which were not authorized nor provided to patients. Specifically the indictment alleges that, Lopez and Esquivel submitted claims on behalf of Florida patients, living and deceased, who were purportedly treated by Kentucky physicians, when in fact neither the patients nor the physicians had any knowledge of one another.
Moreover, investigators learned that the products, including surgical dressings that were billed to Medicare, were never provided by Universal of Work Services and Steel Quality. Search warrants executed on Universal of Work Services located on Bishops Lane, and Steel Quality Services, Inc. located on Envoy Circle, found both businesses were almost devoid of any products it claimed to have been providing. Further, Lopez and Esquivel concealed their ownership in the companies by enlisting “nominee” owners.
In the event of a conviction, the maximum potential penalties are 35 years’ imprisonment, a $1,500,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of up to five years.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lettricea Jefferson-Webb, and it was investigated by Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Lopez and Esquivel are scheduled to appear for arraignment before the United States Magistrate Judge on, August 23, 2011, in Louisville, Kentucky.
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The indictment of a person by a grand jury is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.