Owners of Durable Medical Equipment Companies Sentenced to 54 Months in Prison for Their Roles in a Multi-Million-Dollar Health Care Fraud Scheme
Operated Sham Medical Supply Companies in Louisville - Supplies Billed to Medicare Included Deceased Patients
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 23, 2014|
LOUISVILLE, KY—The former owners of two now-defunct durable medical equipment companies were sentenced to 54 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,940,043.84 in restitution by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn, II for conspiracy, health care fraud, submitting false claims, and wire fraud, announced David J. Hale, United State Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.
Yunior Lopez, age 36, of Miami, Florida, and Arturo Esquivel, age 42, of Hialeah, Florida, through their corporations, Universal of Work Services and Steel Quality Medical, submitted false and fraudulent claims totaling approximately $4 million to Medicare Services for products that were not authorized and were not provided to patients. Between September 2007 and November 2008, 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. Lopez and Esquivel were charged in a 13 count federal indictment on August 1, 2011, and were sentenced Friday, January 17, 2014.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lettricea Jefferson-Webb, and it was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.