The co-owner of Professional Medical Home Health LLC was sentenced this week to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $6.2 million in restitution for her participation in a health care fraud scheme, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.
“Submitting false claims for payment to the government is an issue of growing concern for everyone because, ultimately, the businesses and people defrauding the government are stealing from taxpayers,” commented Christopher Paulos, attorney with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who practices in the areas of qui tam or whistleblower and false claims act litigation.
Co-owner Annarella Garcia, helped run the company which purported to give home health care and therapy session to Medicare beneficiaries. From December 2008 to February 2014, Garcia and other accomplices schemed the Medicare Program by wrongfully claiming expensive physical therapy and home service that were either unneeded nor provided. Professional Medical Home Health defrauded the Medicare Program of $6.25 million.
In a revolving-door operation, Garcia and her accomplices paid kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters who referred the patients to Professional Medical Home Health. The fraudsters falsified patient records to create the appearance that Medicare beneficiaries qualified and received home health services.
The beneficiaries did not qualify for services, nor did they ever receive them. Garcia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health fraud in June.
Part of the the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, the FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged nearly 2,000 defendants that have defrauded the Medicare Program of over $6 billion.