Fraud wrap-up: It's a numbers game

Sunday, October 19, 2008

LOS ANGELES - The owner of TA Medical Supply in Tujunga, Calif., pleaded guilty last week to federal charges of defrauding Medicare by using beneficiary identification numbers without their knowledge. Melkon Gabriyelyan, 51, billed Medicare for more than $1.6 million between 2003 and 2008, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Gabriyelyan submitted claims for orthotic braces, power wheelchairs and other DME that were not prescribed by physicians and not delivered to beneficiaries. He even created patient files that contained delivery slips with forged signatures from beneficiaries, according to the release. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a multi-agency team of federal, state and local prosecutors designed to combat Medicare fraud, arrested Gabriyelyan in May 2008 following an investigation.

People's Choice charged with Medicaid fraud
NEW YORK - People's Choice Surgical Supplies of Hempstead, once Long Island's largest durable medical equipment provider, has stolen more than $1 million from Medicaid by filing false invoices, according to an indictment filed by the New York State Attorney General last week. People's Choice allegedly used the names and ID numbers of doctors without their knowledge to submit fraudulent Medicaid claims between 2003 and 2006. Two executives and a billing supervisor at People's Choice have been charged with grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.

Vertex Medical submits false claims
GARLAND, Texas. - Five people, including the owners of Vertex Medical Supply, have been indicted for violating anti-kickback statues and conspiring to commit healthcare fraud, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office last week. Rose and Emmanuel Benson, owners of Vertex, paid the three other defendants--Linda Marshall, Bagience Ekpo and Venda Brown-- up to $500 to provide them with Medicare beneficiary numbers, according to the indictment. The Bensons then used the numbers to make false claims to Medicare for power wheelchairs. Marshall, Ekpo and Brown obtained information from Medicare beneficiaries and physician offices by promising to provide wheelchairs at no cost, according to the release. Between 2003 and 2005, the Bensons allegedly billed more than $2.1 million in fraudulent claims. Medicare paid them for more than $1 million.