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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Bay Area Medical Professionals Indicted For Kickback Scheme

Three Doctors and Three Employees of Milpitas Home Health Agency Charged With Paying and Receiving Kickbacks to Refer Patients

SAN JOSE - A federal grand jury in San Jose indicted three doctors and three additional health care workers with conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for health care referrals and the receipt and payment of kickbacks for health care referrals, announced United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  One defendant also was charged with obstruction of justice.

According to the indictment, filed August 16, 2018, and unsealed today, between April 2013 and May 2017, three doctors, Abdelsalam Mogasbe, 51, of San Jose, Jaime Cortes, 52, of Vacaville, and James Nickolopous, 70, of San Leandro, conspired to receive kickback payments, and did receive such payments, in exchange for referring Medicare patients to Medics Choice Home Health, Inc, a Milpitas home health care agency.  The indictment also alleges that three employees of Medics Choice, Felina Roque, 62, of Sunnyvale, Loreta Dario, 57, of Hayward, and Lorena Gerisomav, 40, of Vacaville, conspired with the doctors to pay, and actually did pay, kickbacks.

All six defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy to pay and receive remuneration for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.  Cortes Mogasbe, and Nickolopoulos were each charged with three counts of receipt of remuneration for referral of a Medicare patient, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(1)(A).  Roque, the owner of Medics Choice, was charged with 16 counts of payment of remuneration for referral of a Medicare patient, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(2)(A), and Dario and Gerisomav were each charged with three counts under the same statute. 

The indictment also alleges that Roque obstructed an investigation into Medics Choice that was being conducted by the FBI.  Specifically, the indictment alleges Roque threatened former employees of Medics Choice who were voluntarily interviewed by FBI agents. Roque was charged with one count of obstruction of justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3).  

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution for each violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $25,000, plus restitution for each violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(1)(A) and (2)(A); and 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution for obstruction of justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3).  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick R. Delahunty is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Susan Kreider.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI. 
 

Updated September 4, 2018