by Winston Chua
A federal criminal complaint unsealed this morning charges 17 defendants and alleges a scheme in which people associated with Manor Medical Imaging Clinic and pharmacies in and around the San Gabriel Valley participated in a “prescription harvesting” scheme that defrauded Medicare and Medi-Cal, causing at least $7.3 million in actual losses to the government health care programs. Fifteen of the 17 federal defendants were arrested this morning, and authorities arrested an additional defendant charged by the California Attorney General’s Office, for a total of 16 arrests today. One federal defendant was arrested earlier this month in relation to another Medicare fraud case, one person named in the federal case remains a fugitive.
The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint alleges that Manor used “cappers” to recruit Medicare and Medi-Cal beneficiaries – including veterans, the homeless, low-income patients and the elderly.
All 17 defendants named in the federal criminal complaint are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, a charge that carries a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. The 15 federal defendants arrested this morning are expected to make their initial appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
Dr. Peter Budetti, Deputy Administrator for Program Integrity, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), stated: “Today’s arrests further signal CMS’ commitment to preventing fraud in Medicare and Medicaid. In this situation, our beneficiaries played a pivotal role in rooting out fraud, reporting their suspicions to their Medicare Prescription Drug plan. Beginning in 2007, CMS’ anti-fraud units opened investigations and made referrals to law enforcement. Since then, CMS has actively supported the investigation by our law enforcement partners and will continue to work with them to minimize the theft of taxpayer dollars while maximizing criminal consequences to thieves.”
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