LawFuel.com – The Legal Newswire Service –
LOS ANGELES – The owner and operator of a durable medical equipment (DME) company has been sentenced to 46 months in prison in connection with a power wheelchair scheme to defraud Medicare, the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services announced today.
Sylvester Ijewere, 49, of Panorama City, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer, who also ordered the defendant to pay $211,755 in restitution.
Ijewere pleaded guilty on April 12 to one count of health care fraud. Ijewere, the owner of Maydads Medical Supply in Arleta, admitted that between June 2007 and October 2009, he conspired with others to purchase fraudulent prescriptions and medical documents which he used to submit false claims to Medicare for expensive power wheelchairs and other DME. Ijewere received approximately $4,000 in reimbursement payments for each power wheelchair claim he submitted to Medicare. Approximately 50 percent of the Medicare beneficiaries to whom Ijewere claimed Maydads had supplied power wheelchairs and other equipment lived in Central and Northern California, more than 100 miles from Maydads’ offices in Arleta.
Ijewere admitted that he submitted or caused the submission of approximately $471,345 in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare through Maydads.
Ijewere’s alleged co-conspirator, Donna Wells, a patient recruiter, was indicted last year for her role in the scheme. Jones is currently scheduled to begin trial on November 9.
The sentencing of Ijewere was announced by United States Attorney André Birotte Jr.; Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Tony Sidley, Assistant Chief of the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse; Glenn R. Ferry, Special Agent-in-Charge for the Los Angeles Region of the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG); and Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office
The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kerry C. O’Neill and DOJ Trial Attorney Jonathan T. Baum. The case is being investigated by the California Department of Justice. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.
Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 810 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program more than $1.85 billion. In addition, HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Kerry C. O’Neill
Major Frauds Section, Health Care Fraud Unit
USAO Release No. 10-141