Owner of Home Health Care Company Sentenced to Nearly Six Years in Prison for Role in $6 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON—A co-owner of Professional Medical Home Health, LLC was sentenced today to serve 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $6.2 million in restitution for her participation in a health care fraud scheme involving the now defunct home health care company.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Reginald France of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami Office made the announcement. U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno of the Southern District of Florida imposed the sentence.
According to court documents, Annarella Garcia, 44, of Hialeah, Florida, was a co-owner of Professional Medical Home Health, a Miami home health care agency that purported to provide home health and therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries. Between December 2008 and February 2014, Garcia and others engaged in a scheme to bill the Medicare Program for expensive physical therapy and home health care services that were not medically necessary or were not provided. During that time, Professional Medical Home Health was paid approximately $6.25 million by Medicare for the fraudulent claims.
Specifically, Garcia and her co-conspirators paid kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters in return for their providing patients to Professional Medical Home Health for home health and therapy services that were not medically necessary or were not provided. In furtherance of the scheme, Garcia and her co-conspirators falsified patient documentation to make it appear that beneficiaries qualified for and received home health care services, when, in fact, many of the beneficiaries did not actually qualify for such services and did not receive such services.
Garcia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud on June 25, 2014.
The case was 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. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys A. Brendan Stewart and Anne P. McNamara of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 1,900 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 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.