WASHINGTON – The former president and administrator of a fraudulent physical therapy company in Lakeland, Fla., was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud Medicare, announced the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FBI.
Miami-area resident Adrian Chalarca, 24, also was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore of the Middle District of Florida to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term and ordered to pay $82,765 in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-defendants. Chalarca pleaded guilty on June 10, 2011, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Pizzo in Tampa, Fla., to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
According to court documents, Chalarca and his co-conspirators purchased Dynamic from its prior owners and transformed it into a fraudulent enterprise. Under Chalarca and others, Dynamic purported to provide physical therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries.
According to court documents, from fall 2009 to summer 2010, Chalarca submitted and caused the submission of $757,654 in fraudulent claims by Dynamic to the Medicare program. Chalarca admitted that he paid and caused the payment of kickbacks and bribes to Medicare beneficiaries in order to obtain their Medicare billing information and used it to submit claims to Medicare for physical therapy services that were never provided. Chalarca admitted that he knew the Medicare beneficiaries, on whose behalf claims were submitted to Medicare, never received the services.
All five defendants charged for their roles in the scheme at Dynamic have pleaded guilty. On Aug. 29, 2011, co-defendant Andres Cespedes was sentenced to 21 months in prison for his participation in the fraud scheme.
Today’s sentencing was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill of the Middle District of Florida; Steven E. Ibison, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Tampa Division; and Christopher Dennis, Special Agent-in-Charge of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations’ Miami Office.
This case was prosecuted by Acting Assistant Chief Benjamin D. Singer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina M. Burden of the Middle District of Florida. The case was investigated by the HHS-OIG, Defense Criminal Investigative Service and FBI, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,140 defendants that collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.