Licensed Occupational Therapist Pleads Guilty to $2.6 Million Medicare Fraud Conspiracy
A licensed occupational therapist pleaded guilty today in Los Angeles for his role in a $2.6 million Medicare fraud scheme that involved billing for occupational therapy services that were not provided.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California and Special Agent in Charge Christian Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region made the announcement.
Keith Canlapan, 38, of West Covina, California, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud before U.S. District Judge George H. Wu of the Central District of California. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 16, 2017, before Judge Wu.
As part of his guilty plea, Canlapan admitted that he was a licensed occupational therapist employed with JH Physical Therapy, an occupational therapy clinic located in Walnut, California. Canlapan further admitted that through JH Physical Therapy, he billed Medicare for occupational therapy services when no such services were provided to the Medicare beneficiaries. Instead, the Medicare beneficiaries received massage and acupuncture services, which are not reimbursable under Medicare rules, he admitted. In fact, on dates that Canlapan purportedly provided occupational services to Medicare beneficiaries at JH Physical Therapy, Canlapan was admittedly not present at JH Physical and instead was either out of the country or at his other places of employment on some of those dates.
Between approximately October 2009 and approximately December 2012, Canlapan, through JH Physical Therapy, billed Medicare $2,669,618 in false and fraudulent claims, of which Medicare paid $1,860,786, he admitted.
Canlapan was charged in an indictment returned on June 16, 2016, along with co-defendants Simon Hong, 54, and Grace Hong, 50, husband and wife, both of Brea, California. Simon Hong is the owner and Grace Hong is the co-operator of JH Physical Therapy, and they are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and three counts of health care fraud. Both are pending trial, which is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2017. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Co-conspirator Roderick Belmonte Concepcion, a licensed occupational therapist, was also previously indicted in a separate related case and pleaded guilty in April 2016. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2017.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Region of HHS-OIG, 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 Central District of California. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Blanca Quintero 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 over 2,900 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for over $10 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & 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.