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Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-111

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

ORANGE COUNTY WOMAN ARRESTED IN HEALTH CARE SCAM THAT PROVIDED USED AND INFERIOR EQUIPMENT TO PATIENTS


Los Angeles, CA - A La Palma woman has been arrested on federal mail fraud charges for allegedly orchestrating a scheme in which she sold durable medical equipment to sleep disorder patients that was actually inferior, disposable or used products.

Patricia Ann Wyatt-Chafe, 57, was arrested this afternoon without incident at her business in La Palma. Appearing in United States District Court in Santa Ana this afternoon, a United States Magistrate Judge ordered Wyatt-Chafe released on a $25,000 bond and ordered the defendant to appear for an arraignment on September 5.

Wyatt-Chafe was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 23 and charged with five counts of mail fraud. According to the indictment, Wyatt-Chafe owned and operated Phoenix CPAP Services, Inc., which supplied products and services to sleep disorder patients. The products sold by Phoenix included Continuous Positive Airway Pressure devices, face masks, hoses, filters and related durable medical equipment.

Wyatt-Chafe allegedly supplied patients with inferior and inexpensive disposable medical equipment, claiming that the equipment was reusable. She also allegedly supplied patients with previously used medical equipment under the false pretense that such equipment was new and unused.

The indictment specifically alleges that Wyatt-Chafe caused Medicare, the Federal Employee Health Benefit program and private health insurance companies to be falsely billed for such equipment.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, the maximum penalty under federal law for each count of mail fraud is 20 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Office of Personnel Management, Office of the Inspector General.

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Release No. 06-111

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