Woman sentenced to prison for role in $192M Medicare fraud scheme
A woman in Florida finally learned her fate last week after having been convicted for masterminding a multi-million-dollar Medicare fraud scheme, as the Daily Caller reports.
According to the Justice Department, 45-year-old Elizabeth Hernandez will spend 20 years in prison for actions that cost the federal government more than $192 million.
Fraud scheme described
The DOJ explained that Hernandez took advantage of the Medicare system by submitting fraudulent claims for things such as telemedicine consultations, genetic testing, and medical equipment and devices that were not actually needed by patients.
As the Justice Department explained, Hernandez's plan revolved around the use of telemarketing enterprises that made contact with Medicare recipients who could unknowingly facilitate her fraud.
Hernandez would persuade those individuals to agree to take orthotic braces and genetic tests that they did not need, doing so without any in-person interaction or any other sort of treatment or examination.
This allowed her to place orders for large amounts of medical services and equipment, also billing Medicare for telemedicine appointments that never took place.
The Justice Department asserted that Hernandez personally profited to the tune of roughly $1.6 million, using the spoils of her fraud to purchase jewelry, luxury automobiles, travel, and more.
Last week, Hernandez received a sentence of two decades in prison for the elaborate fraud in which she engaged, as the DOJ explained.
The lengthy sentence seems to fit the egregious and brazen nature of her conduct, considering that during the time period in which her scheme was in effect, Hernandez ordered more genetic tests for cancer for Medicare patients than any other healthcare provider in the country.
Evidence also revealed that she routinely billed more than 24 hours of telemedicine visits on individual days, consultations that did not take place.
Fight against fraud continues
Hernandez's case was prosecuted by the DOJ Criminal Division's Fraud Section under the auspices of Assistant Chief Kate Payerle and Trial Attorney Andrea Savdie.
According to the Justice Department, the Fraud Section has charged more than 5,400 defendants since March 2007 for crimes that resulted in fraudulent claims of more than $27 billion, and the battle against such schemes will surely continue in the months and years to come.