A Detroit-area physician pleaded guilty today for her role in a $7 million health care fraud scheme.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office made the announcement.
Adelina Herrero, 72, of Ann Arbor, Mich., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman in the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
According to court documents, beginning in approximately April 2010 and continuing through approximately April 2013, Herrero and others agreed that she would refer Medicare beneficiaries whom she had never seen or treated to Advance Home Health Care Services Inc. (Advance) and Perfect Home Health Care Services LLP (Perfect), which were both owned by co-conspirators. Herrero signed medical documents, such as home health care certifications and plans of care for these beneficiaries, falsely certifying that they were under her care and that they required home health care. Advance, Perfect and other home health agencies then used Herrero’s false documents to support their claims to Medicare for home health services — including physical therapy services — that were never rendered and/or not medically necessary. Herrero knew the medical documents she signed for her co-conspirators would be used to support false claims to Medicare. Herrero admitted that in exchange for signing the home health care documents, she accepted kickback payments from a co-conspirator.
The false and fraudulent claims to Medicare arising from Herrero’s conduct total approximately $1,382,208 in billings for home health services and physician services, of which Medicare paid $1,321,372.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. This case is being prosecuted by Special Trial Attorney Katie R. Fink and Trial Attorney Patrick J. Hurford of the Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,700 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5.5 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with 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 .