Doctor, HME provider guilty of wheelchair scam

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

SAN DIEGO – A medical doctor and the owner of an HME company have both pled guilty to participating in a scheme that defrauded Medicare of more than $1 million, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. According to court papers and admissions by the defendants, Dr. Irving Schwartz and Jose Melendez, owner of Oceanside Medical Supply in Long Beach, Calif., conspired to obtain reimbursement from Medicare for power wheelchairs that patients did not need and, in some cases, did not want. Dr. Schwartz admitted in court that he wrote at least 186 fraudulent prescriptions for power wheelchairs in exchange for more than $55,000 in bribes and kickbacks, while Melendez admitted to purchasing these 186 fraudulent prescriptions and using them to submit more than $830,000 in false claims to Medicare. As part of their plea agreements, the defendants are obligated to pay restitution to Medicare.