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December 15, 2014

Southern California Physician Sentenced to 22 Months in Prison for Medicare Fraud

WASHINGTON—A Southern California physician was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison today for his role in a conspiracy to commit Medicare fraud.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region and Assistant Director in Charge Bill Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

Dr. Jason C. Ling, 43, of Spring Valley, California, pleaded guilty in June 2014, to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. According to his plea agreement, between March and November 2010, Dr. Ling conspired with others to defraud the Medicare program by writing medically unnecessary prescriptions for expensive power wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment (DME). Dr. Ling obtained patients for his Spring Valley medical clinic from a street-level recruiter, or “marketer,” who referred Medicare beneficiaries for medically unnecessary DME prescriptions. Dr. Ling’s prescriptions were provided to owners of DME companies, including Eucharia Okeke, who used the fraudulent prescriptions to submit approximately $496,794 in false claims to Medicare.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge George H. Wu of the Central District of California ordered Dr. Ling to pay $311,145 in restitution to the Medicare program.

Eucharia Okeke, pleaded guilty for her role in the conspiracy on Aug. 25, 2014. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2015.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Los Angeles Region of HHS-OIG. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Alexander F. Porter of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is 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.

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