Convicted health care fraudsters charged under False Claims Act
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The owner and administrator of Texas-based Merida hospice and home health entities have been named in a multi-million-dollar whistleblower lawsuit, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Rodney Mesquias and Henry McInnis, both 51, and formerly from Harlingen, were convicted of criminal health care fraud and conspiracy charges following a lengthy trial in Brownsville on Nov. 6, 2019.
“All health care providers who submit claims to the Medicare program are on notice that when they enroll in Medicare, they are subject to both criminal and civil consequences for the submission of false and fraudulent claims,” said Lowery.
The civil complaint filed today, alleges Mesquias and McInnis conspired to violate the civil False Claims Act by submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary hospice and home health services. It also alleges they paid illegal kickbacks to Merida medical directors for patient referrals and created false patient medical records in support of the false and fraudulent claims. These included hospice and home health certifications that were material to Medicare payments.
Mesquias and McInnis are currently in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons serving 240 months and 180 months, respectively, for their criminal convictions. Mesquias also has been ordered to pay $120 million in restitution to the Medicare program.
The United States is also entitled to recover triple the damages for violations of the civil False Claims Act as well as civil monetary penalties between $11,803 and $23,607 for each false claim submitted to Medicare.
The Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General, FBI and Texas Health and Human Services Commission conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger is handling the matter.