Durable Medical Equipment Clinic Owner Sentenced for His Role in $11 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Department of Justice February 11, 2014|
WASHINGTON—The former owner of a defunct durable medical equipment (DME) clinic was sentenced today in Miami to serve 70 months in prison for his role in an $11 million health care fraud scheme involving World Class Medical Clinic Corp. (World Class).
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo A Ferrer; Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigation’s Miami Office made the announcement.
Francisco Enrique Chavez, 36, of Miami, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz in the Southern District of Florida. In addition to his prison term, Chavez was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,713,959 in restitution.
On November 21, 2013, Chavez pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud.
During the course of the health care fraud scheme, Chavez served as the president and sole corporate officer of World Class, a defunct DME company located in Miami. From March 27, 2006 through August 22, 2006, Chavez submitted and caused to be submitted approximately $11.3 million in false and fraudulent claims to the Medicare program on behalf of World Class for DME that was neither prescribed by a physician nor medically necessary. Medicare paid more than $1.7 million on these false and fraudulent claims. The proceeds of the World Class fraud scheme were deposited into corporate bank accounts that were controlled by Chavez. Chavez, in turn, made numerous cash withdrawals and deposits into personal and shell entity bank accounts to facilitate and conceal the nature of the scheme.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The case is being prosecuted by Allan J. Medina and Sarah M. Hall of the Fraud Section.
Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,700 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $5.5 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.