McALLEN, Texas (CN) - Two medical equipment suppliers pleaded guilty to paying a health care marketer illegal kickbacks for patient referrals.
Jose "Joe" Trevino and Pedro "Pete" Medrano, both of Weslaco, Texas, each face up to five years in federal prison, federal prosecutors said.
Trevino and Medrano entered their guilty pleas to one-count criminal informations charging them with conspiracy to violate the federal anti-kickback law.
Trevino, 44, owns Med-Quick Diagnostics, a medical-supply company in Weslaco, while Medrano, 46, owns Go DME Inc., formerly known as All Valley Medical Supply in Pharr, Texas, according to the Justice Department.
Both pleas stem from the men's dealings with Alicia Vasquez, who owns a health care resource center called David's Star Loving Vision.
"From approximately September 2009 through April 2011, Trevino authorized thousands of dollars in illegal kickback payments to an area marketer, Alicia Vasquez, in exchange for Vasquez's referrals of numerous Medicare and Medicaid patients to Med-Quick," prosecutors said in a statement.
Trevino allegedly paid Vasquez kickbacks through an intermediary identified in the criminal information as "Person A."
His company then billed Medicare and Medicaid hundreds of thousands of dollars for patients Vasquez illegally referred, prosecutors said.
Vasquez faced similar charges.
In addition to the prison time, both men face a $250,000 fine at their July 25 sentencing hearings.
Vasquez, who pleaded in February to a conspiracy charge, faces the same penalty at sentencing next month.
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