Organizer of Medical Equipment Scam Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 22, 2009|
Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Division, announced that defendant Maria F. Hernandez, 62, of Miami, Florida, was sentenced yesterday for her participation in a $5.7 million health care fraud scheme. U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke sentenced Hernandez to a total of a 57 months' imprisonment. In addition, Hernandez was ordered to forfeit to the government a Miami townhouse that she purchased with fraud proceeds.
In August 2009, Hernandez pled guilty to an Information charging her with health care fraud conspiracy. The FBI investigation established that Hernandez conspired with others to defraud the Medicare program through the fraudulent submission of $5.7 million in durable medical equipment (DME) claims from 2005 through 2006. Hernandez used a relative’s medical billing company to submit the false claims. The claims concerned three separate DME companies that Hernandez and her co-conspirators controlled through straw owners in an effort to conceal their own interests. Medicare paid the Hernandez companies approximately $1.9 million based on the false claims, which were for DME items that were neither prescribed by doctors nor delivered to Medicare patients. In documents filed with the Court, Hernandez admitted to receiving upwards of $30,000 per month from her fraudulent ventures.
Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies stated, “Criminals who commit health care fraud steal from U.S. taxpayers and make medical care more expensive for all of us. The FBI has devoted significant resources to address health care fraud and it will continue to be a top priority for the Miami FBI office.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Parente, Jr.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.