Agawam Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding VA Hospitals by Failing to Inspect Medical Gas Systems
BOSTON – A vendor for several Veterans Affairs medical facilities pleaded guilty today to a scheme to profit by billing for, but failing to perform, critical medical gas inspections at VA facilities.
Chester Wojcik, 49, of Agawam, Mass., pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled sentencing for Nov. 19, 2020.
From May 29, 2014, through March 5, 2015, Wojcik, as the owner of Alliance Medical Gas Corporation, engaged in a scheme to defraud the VA by creating false invoices and reports for medical gas inspections that never took place. Medical gas supply systems deliver piped gases, including compressed air, oxygen, nitrous oxide, nitrogen and carbon dioxide to operating rooms, recovery rooms and patient rooms. Medical gas supply systems must be inspected and maintained regularly to ensure the safety of patients and medical professionals. Wojcik failed to perform, and then lied about, scheduled inspections of medical gas systems at VA facilities in Sioux Falls, S.D., Tuskegee, Ala. and Montgomery, Ala. Wojcik was paid $8,981 by the VA for services that his company did not perform.
The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Christopher Algieri, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Field Office; and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elysa Q. Wan of Lelling’s Health Care Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.