Medicare Fraudster Went Wild, Feds Say

     McALLEN, Texas (CN) – The owner of a defunct medical equipment company was arrested along with his wife and two employees and charged with submitting 25,000 fraudulent claims to Medicare, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     Arrested on a 22-count indictment were Marcello Herrera, 39, the owner of RGV DME; his wife Carla Cantu Herrera, 31, both of Mission; Ramon De La Garza, 51, all of Mission; and Beatriz Ramos, 27, of Edinburg, prosecutors said in a statement.
     “According to allegations contained in the indictment, RGV DME submitted approximately 25,000 claims totaling approximately $11 million to Medicare and Texas Medicaid for [services] DME allegedly provided to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and was paid more than $7.1 million,” prosecutors said in the statement. “The indictment alleges that 80 to 90 percent of the billings were fraudulent and that the fraudulent claims to Medicare were sent by wire transmissions in interstate commerce.”
     Herrera directed the fraud from 2004 to 2010, which included false claims for power wheelchairs, incontinent supplies, hospital beds and other equipment, prosecutors said.
     The defendants paid “marketers” to get beneficiaries’ Medicare and Medicaid ID numbers and used the numbers for their phony claims, prosecutors said.
     DME billed for equipment that was never prescribed, never delivered or was shipped to dead people, prosecutors said.
     Prosecutors charged Herrera and company with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, six counts of health care fraud, five counts of wire fraud and 10 counts of aggravated identity theft.
     If convicted of all charges, he faces more than 100 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

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