Corporate Compliance

LA federal jury convicts woman in power wheelchair fraud scheme

Compliance Monitor, March 3, 2010

A Los Angeles federal jury convicted Maria Nela Moreno of defrauding Medicare by recruiting Medicare patients and supplying them with unnecessary power wheelchairs, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.
Evidence at the trial revealed the Moreno, 57, went door-to-door at low income, senior living communities offering power wheelchairs to Medicare beneficiaries that they did not need. According to the DOJ, Moreno obtained Medicare identification cards and numbers by telling them that Medicare was running out of money and the beneficiaries would not be able to get a chair if they needed one in the future.

Moreno submitted approximately $6,000 in false claims per wheelchair, when the chairs could be purchased for less than $1,000. The jury convicted Moreno of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and six counts of healthcare fraud. She faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine per healthcare fraud count.

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