DOJ nabs seven for DME fraud

Thursday, September 30, 2004

MIAMI - The U.S. attorney’s office in southern Florida in August charged seven people with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to money launder.

The charges, resulting from a three-year investigation, allege that the defendants and others formed bogus DME companies and billed Medicare for DME services that were never provided or were unnecessary.

The indictment seeks to recoup $7 million that the government alleges was illegally billed to Medicare.

The government also charged some of the defendants with laundering $4 million during the course of the so-called conspiracy.

The money laundering charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a possible fine equal to twice the amount of money defrauded from Medicare.

Some defendants were also charged with participating in check-cashing schemes.

Those named in the 79-count indictment are Lazaro Betancourt, Carlos Marx Mesa, Kenia Mesa, Osvaldo Piedra, Viridiana Negrin, Gilberto Herrera and G. Carnet.