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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Maximum Sentence for Medicare Fraud

McALLEN, Texas (CN) - A South Texas medical equipment supplier was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for Medicare fraud.

Juan De Leon, 41, of Edinburg, the owner of United DME Inc., was sentenced Thursday for submitting false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for wheelchairs, and diabetic supplies he never delivered to patients.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane gave him to maximum sentence and ordered him to pay $750,000 in restitution

A federal jury in September 2011 found De Leon guilty of conspiracy, health care fraud and aggravated identity theft.

De Leon operated his durable medical equipment company in Weslaco.

"During the trial, the United States presented evidence that from 2007 through 2010, De Leon directed his employees to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid for power wheelchairs that were not delivered and for diabetic supplies and other medical items that were not delivered," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement. "The jury heard evidence that instead of providing the medically necessary power wheelchairs prescribed by the patients' doctors, De Leon would instead provide the patients with less expensive, and more difficult to operate, scooters that they could not use. In other cases, De Leon or his staff submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for medical items allegedly delivered after the beneficiary had passed away."

De Leon tried to conceal his fraud by backdating delivery tickets, and forging patient signatures on delivery tickets, prosecutors said.

At De Leon's sentencing hearing, prosecutors introduced additional evidence that he obstructed justice by altering patient files before giving them to investigators, and tried to influence government informants to lie to investigators.

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