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HHS IG racks up more Medicare fraud convictions

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Conspirators in four Miami health care fraud schemes pled guilty or were sentenced this week for scamming Medicare for between $13.3. million and $74 million dollars.

* A home health care administrator pled guilty on Wednesday to her role in a $74 million kickback scheme. Myriam Acevedo and her co-conspirators ran two home health care operations for the purpose of billing Medicare for expensive physical therapy and medical services they never provided, according to the Department of Justice. Acevedo's role was to pay kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters.

* A health care clinic director and psychologist pled guilty Tuesday to charges of Medicare fraud for submitting claims as a personal provider while the clinic she worked for billed Medicare for the same expenses, the Department of Justice said. Alina Feas was aware that the health provider she worked for, the now-defunct Health Care Solutions Network, paid illegal kickbacks in exchange for patient information used to submit false Medicare claims. Feas even signed therapy notes and medical records for services she and HCSN never provided. Of the fifteen people charged with participating in the scheme, 13 have pled guilty.

* Two clinic owners, a husband and wife, were sentenced on Wednesday to a total of 112 months in prison for a $13 million fraud scheme, according to the FBI. Raymond Arias opened Elite Wellness in 2009, and submitted Medicare fraud claims for infusion therapy treatments his clinic never performed. He was sentenced to 100 months in prison and ordered to pay $5.4 million. His wife Emelitza opened a second clinic, Carefirst Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Center, and submitted claims for similar services she also never performed. She was charged with one year in prison and ordered to pay $531,883.

* A patient recruiter was sentenced to 37 months in prison on Monday for his role in a $20 million kickback scheme, the Department of Justice said. Manuel Lozano conspired to received bribes and kickbacks from Serendipity Home Services in exchange for recruiting patients. Between 2006 and 2009 Serendipity billed Medicare for $20 million in nonexistent or medically unnecessary services. Lozano's participation resulted in between $1 million and $2.5 million of those false charges.

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