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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Medical Assistant Pleads Guilty for Role in Detroit Infusion and Injection Therapy Scheme to Defraud Medicare

A Detroit-area resident pleaded guilty today for her role in an infusion and injection therapy scheme to defraud Medicare, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).

Miriam Freytes, 49, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud before U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood of the Eastern District of Michigan. At sentencing, scheduled for Aug. 5, 2010, Freytes faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the plea documents, Freytes entered into an agreement in approximately December 2005 to provide services to Dearborn Medical Rehabilitation Center (DMRC), a business that purported to provide infusion and injection therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries. According to court documents, the Medicare beneficiaries were recruited by co-conspirators and paid to sign paperwork stating that they had received infusions and injections of specialty medications that they did not receive.

Freytes admitted that as a medical assistant at DMRC she administered infusions and injections of specialty medications to Medicare beneficiaries billed by the clinic.  Freytes also admitted she allowed co-conspirators at DMRC to submit fraudulent bills to Medicare using her and her son’s identification numbers for services that were not necessary or provided.  Freytes’ conduct resulted in DMRC billing more than $1 million to Medicare and being paid approximately $727,000 for unnecessary services and for services that were never provided.

Today’s result was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade; Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena 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’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office.

This case was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney John K. Neal and Trial Attorney Gejaa T. Gobena of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Beimers from the Eastern District of Michigan. The case was investigated by the FBI and 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 Eastern District of Michigan.

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, HHS’s 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

Press Release Number: 
Updated September 15, 2014