Defendants plead guilty of allegations in Medicare Fraud in U.S. District Court
Two defendants, Jessica Jones from Colorado, and Elizabeth Putulin from Florida pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud allegations. Senior Judge, George A. O’Toole at the U.S. district course, proposed the sentencing for May 19, 2021.
Jones and Putulin were found guilty of partnering with Juan Camilo Perz to bag $109 million in false claims for medical equipment, including knee, shoulder, arm, and back braces. Last year in October, Perz paid kickbacks after declaring himself responsible for a fraud scheme in the federal healthcare program in the US, Medicare. The offender is to be sentenced on March 4, 2021.
The two women confessed to helping Perz submit bogus and false Medicare claims through shell companies spanning over a dozen states in the States. Perz hired Jones and Putulin to provide fictitious names and act as corporate directors to present their shell company as a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) service provider. They acquired foreign and domestic patient records from different call centers, targeting an older group of patients.
Moreover, they also used the call centers to ask medicare beneficiaries for offers regarding arm, shoulder, and knee braces at a very cheap price. Later, Perz tendered the Medicare claims on behalf of those patients without their consent or a prescriber’s recommendation. This gave a notion that the braces were medically necessary.
Also, the offenders were charged with filing insurance claims of the deceased, and the same people repeatedly. Perz failed to provide convincing evidence for DME offerings of more than $7.5 million. This was because when he provided DME to patients, they were charged 12 times more than the actual price of the equipment.
The court ended the proceedings by sentencing the fraudsters to 10 years in prison with a fine of $250,000. The sentence penalty was decided in light of the standard U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.