Jury Convicts Crooked Doctor in SoCal

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Three people, including a doctor, defrauded Medicare of $1 million by luring people to clinics with free juice, then billing Uncle Sam for “power wheelchairs that they did not need and did not want,” federal prosecutors said.
     A federal jury convicted the three people and a medical supply company late Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     The conspirators lured Medicare patients to clinics with promises of “free items such as vitamins and juice, only to receive power wheelchairs that they did not need and did not want,” the U.S. attorney said in a statement.
     Convicted of conspiring to pay and receive kickbacks were Godwin Onyeabor, 49, of Ontario, Calif.; Dr. Sri J. Wijegunaratne, 58, of Anaheim; and Heidi Morishita, 48, of Valencia.
     Wijegunaratne also was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six counts of health care fraud.
     Onyeabor also was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and 11 counts of health care fraud.
     Onyeabor, an officer at Fendih Medical Supply in San Bernardino, and others paid cash kickbacks to Wijegunaratne and Morishita for fraudulent prescriptions for medical equipment, including power wheelchairs. Onyeabor and others then fraudulently billed Medicare.
     The defendants fraudulently billed Medicare for $1.5 million and got almost $1 million, prosecutors said.
     The defendants face up to 10 years in prison on each count at their Sept. 9 sentencings.

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