Corporate Compliance

DME office manager pleads guilty to Medicare fraud

Compliance Monitor, February 23, 2011

The office manager of a Los Angeles durable medical equipment (DME) company pleaded guilty today to conspiring with her former church pastor to defraud Medicare of more than $6 million, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.

Darawn Shadene Vasquez, 26, admitted that between January 2006 and September 2009, she and her former church pastor, Christopher Iruke, submitted false claims for expensive power wheelchairs and other DME through four DME companies that Iruke either owned or controlled through alleged straw owners.  

According to the DOJ, Vasquez admitted that she often knew that the Medicare beneficiaries did not need the wheelchairs. In some cases she observed them walking. As a result of this scheme, Medicare paid approximately $6.1 million to the Iruke’s four DME companies.

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