DME Operator Convicted in Illegal Kickback Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 24, 2012|
MCALLEN, TX—The owner of an area medical supply company has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the federal anti-kickback statute, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Pedro “Pete” Medrano, 46, of Weslaco, Texas, pleaded guilty this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez to a one-count criminal information charging conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statute. The federal anti-kickback statute prohibits individuals and entities from knowingly and willfully paying or offering to pay, as well as soliciting or receiving remuneration (money or things of value), in return for the referral of patients for medical services or items which are benefits under a federal health care program, such as Medicare or Medicaid. A violation of the statute is a felony offense.
According to information presented by the United States at today’s hearing, Medrano is the owner and operator of Go DME Inc., formerly known as All Valley Medical Supply (AVMS), of Pharr, Texas. From approximately September 2009 through June 2010, Medrano authorized thousands of dollars in illegal kickback payments to Alicia Vasquez, owner of David’s Star Loving Vision, a health care resource center. In exchange for the payments, Vasquez referred numerous Medicare and Medicaid patients to AVMS for a variety of items and services, in violation of the anti-kickback statute.
Vasquez previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.
Judge Alvarez has scheduled Medrano’s sentencing for July 25, 2012 at which time he faces up to five years in federal prison, without parole, and a $250,000 fine.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Gregory S. Saikin is prosecuting the case.