Medicare fraud is a huge problem in this country. While millions of Americans struggle to make ends meet and receive proper healthcare, a few folks try to scam taxpayers and the government with massive Medicare fraud cases. Recently, a federal judge in Miami, Florida sentenced three women affiliated with a home health agency to between 30 and 37 months in prison.
Prosecutors say that Estrella Perez of Coral Gables, Solchys Perez of Miami and Abigail Aguila, also of Miami, recruited patients for a home health care company called Trust Care. They claim the women knew that the company was billing for services never provided to patients.
Court records reveal that the women received kickbacks for each “patient” they recruited. Trust Care then billed Medicare for services that the patients didn’t need. In many cases the services were never even provided.
Prosecutors say that Estrella Perez and Solchys Perez bribed clinics and physician offices in order to get prescriptions for home care for their patients.
It sounds like everybody profited. Unfortunately, Medicare is funded through tax dollars. Every dollar taken by Medicare fraud is a dollar not available to fund healthcare for those truly in need.
The government says Trust Care scammed Medicare for over $20 million. Nationally, Medicare fraud costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars per year.
Working with the FBI, the Medicare Fraud Task Force investigated the case.
Why do we write about these cases? Many healthcare fraud cases rely on whistleblowers, conscientious men and women who step forward to report fraud. The federal False Claims Act can pay whistleblowers up to 30% of whatever is collected by the government. With triple damages and other enhanced penalty provisions available, whistleblowers often receive millions of dollars for their information.
To become a whistleblower, one must have original source information about fraud or abuse of a government-funded program. Often whistleblowers in Medicare fraud cases are billing clerks although patient recruiters, pharmacists and doctors qualify.
Think you have information and desire to become a whistleblower? The first step is finding a good whistleblower lawyer. To qualify for an award, you must file a complaint under seal in federal court. A great lawyer is needed to develop your claims, prepare the complaint and help insure the government properly investigates your claims.