The owner and operator of a Los Angeles durable medical equipment (DME) company pleaded guilty today to submitting nearly one half of a million dollars in false claims to Medicare, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.
Sylvester Ijewere, 49, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Dale S. Fischer in the Central District of California to one count of health care fraud. Ijewere, the owner of Maydads Medical Supply, admitted that between June 2007 and October 2009, he schemed with others to purchase fraudulent prescriptions and medical documents. Ijewere admitted that he used those documents to submit false claims to Medicare for expensive, high-end power wheelchairs and other DME. Approximately 50 percent of the Medicare beneficiaries to whom Ijewere claimed Maydads supplied with power wheelchairs and other equipment lived more than 100 miles from Maydads’ Los Angeles-area offices.
Ijewere admitted that he knew the beneficiaries who received the power wheelchairs did not need them or the other equipment they received from Maydads. Ijewere also admitted that he knew the doctor and beneficiary information he used to support Maydads’ false and fraudulent claims to Medicare came from fraudulent medical clinics and patient recruiters. As a result of this scheme, Ijewere admitted that he submitted or caused the submission of approximately $471,345 in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare through Maydads.
At sentencing, scheduled for Aug. 16, 2010, Ijewere faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Today’s result was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. for the Central District of California; Tony Sidley, Assistant Chief of the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (Cal DOJ); Glenn R. Ferry, Special Agent-in-Charge for the Los Angeles Region of the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG); and Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jonathan T. Baum of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kerry C. O’Neill of the Central District of California. The case is being investigated by Cal DOJ and HHS OIG . The case 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 Central District of California.
Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 500 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for approximately $1.1 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