Eight in Calif. Indicted in National Medicare Fraud Investigation
Eight medical professionals in Southern California were among 90 individuals indicted across the country for allegedly submitting fraudulent Medicare claims worth nearly $260 million, Payers & Providers reports (Shinkman, Payers & Providers, 5/15).
Details of Indictments
On Tuesday, federal officials announced that the Medicare Fraud Strike Force this week had arrested 90 people in six cities for allegedly submitting fraudulent Medicare claims.
The arrests included:
- Medicare beneficiaries;
- Pharmacy owners (Reuters/New York Times, 5/13); and
- 16 physicians (Carreyrou/Stewart, Wall Street Journal, 5/13).
A majority of arrests were made in Tampa and South Florida, but individuals also were arrested in:
- Los Angeles; and
- New York City.
According to federal officials, the schemes for which charges were brought included:
- Recruiters paying individuals to file unnecessary claims;
- Home health care organizations requesting reimbursements for services they did not perform; and
- Medical supply companies submitting claims for equipment that had never been ordered (Reuters/New York Times, 5/13).
Details of Charges in Calif.
Eight of the individuals who were indicted work in California and allegedly were responsible for a total of about $32 million in fraudulent Medicare payments, according to the government.
The charges were levied against two physicians:
- Robert Glazer, a physician at Glazer Medical Clinic in Los Angeles, who is accused of billing for services that were not provided and receiving kickbacks for unnecessary home health certificates and medical equipment; and
- Jason Ling, a physician in Spring Valley, who is accused of writing unnecessary prescriptions.
Others in California who were indicted include:
- Judith Bongcayoa Estrella, a marketer at durable medical equipment company Ezcore 900 in Valencia;
- Hakop Gambaryan, owner of Colonial Medical Supply in Van Nuys, who is accused of filing fraudulent claims
- Wilmer David Guzman, a marketer at Ezcore 900;
- Zoila O'Brien, a patient recruiter and marketer for an unspecified medical equipment firm, who is accused of submitting fraudulent claims and recruiting patients to receive unnecessary prescriptions;
- Sylvia Ogbenyeanu Water-Eze, owner of Ezcore 900, who is accused of filing fraudulent claims for wheelchairs and other medical equipment;
- Eucharia Okeke, owner of Eastern Medical Supply in Inglewood, who is accused of paying kickbacks for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries and working with a doctor to write fraudulent prescriptions for medical equipment (Aguilera, "KPCC News," KPCC 5/13).