Former Owner of Physical Therapy Clinic Sentenced to Prison in Connection with Health Care Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Department of Justice June 19, 2014|
WASHINGTON—A Florida man who was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud was sentenced to serve 27 months in prison today in federal court in Tampa, Florida.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida A. Lee Bentley, III, Acting Special Agent in Charge Ryan Lynch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Florida region, and Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office made the announcement.
Jose Pascual, 36, previously pleaded guilty to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In addition to his prison term, he was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,292,375 in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-conspirators.
According to documents filed in the case, in February 2007, Pascual purchased R&R Outpatient LLC, an outpatient physical therapy provider with locations in Fort Myers and Ocala, Florida. Pascual and his co-conspirators then caused reimbursement claims to be submitted on behalf of R&R Outpatient to Medicare fraudulently representing that physical and occupational therapy services had been legitimately prescribed by physicians and provided to Medicare beneficiaries. Pascual and his co-conspirators fabricated medical records to support the fraudulent claims. As a result of the fraudulent claims, Medicare paid approximately $1,124,826 to R&R Outpatient. Pascual and his co-conspirators also recycled Medicare beneficiary information from R&R Outpatient in order to submit fraudulent reimbursement claims to Medicare through other clinics.
This case was investigated by HHS-OIG and the FBI 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 Middle District of Florida. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Christopher J. Hunter of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Simon Gaugush.
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 Team (HEAT), go to stopmedicarefraud.gov.