WASHINGTON – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – The owner of a Miami health care company has pleaded guilty to submitting more than $2 million worth of fraudulent bills to the Medicare program, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta of the Southern District of Florida announced today.
Lazaro Uvina Salazar, owner of a durable medical equipment (DME) company named MV Research Inc., entered the plea today before U.S. District Judge Alan Gold of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida. Uvina pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a scheme to defraud Medicare.
Uvina admitted that from January 2007 through March 2007, he submitted approximately $2.2 million worth of claims to the Medicare program for equipment that was never actually provided to Medicare beneficiaries. Those $2.2 million in claims falsely represented that the equipment had been necessary and had actually been provided to Medicare beneficiaries. Uvina’s scheme involved obtaining Medicare numbers for approximately 250 Medicare beneficiaries, obtaining Medicare provider numbers for approximately 10 doctors, and submitting approximately 4,000 claims to Medicare.
Uvina faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 27, 2007, before Judge Gold.
The prosecution resulted from the establishment of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a multi-agency team of federal, state and local investigators in south Florida designed specifically to combat Medicare fraud through the use of real-time Medicare billing data.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Hank Bond Walther and Deputy Chief Kirk Ogrosky of the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., with the investigative assistance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General and the FBI. The strike force teams are led by a federal prosecutor supervised by both the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the office of U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta of the Southern District of Florida. Each team has four to six agents, at least one agent from the FBI and HHS Office of Inspector General, as well as representatives from local law enforcement. The teams operate out of the federal Health Care Fraud Facility in Miramar, Fla.