Corporate Compliance

Durable medical equipment company owner convicted of Medicare fraud

Compliance Monitor, September 12, 2007

The owner and operator of a Florida durable medical equipment company and an assisted living facility has been convicted by a federal jury in Miami of Medicare fraud, marking the fourth conviction for the Medicare Strike Force in South Florida since March.

A Miami jury found Marianela Smith guilty on charges, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, to submit false claims to Medicare, and to receive kickbacks; conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud; and receiving kickbacks in exchange for referring patients to a co-conspirator pharmacy. Smith faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 9, 2007, before Judge Joan A. Lenard of the Southern District of Florida.

Smith, who owned and operated Smith Medical Equipment, Inc. and M.P. Residence, Inc., conspired with the owners of Lily's Pharmacy to refer paid patients to the pharmacy in exchange for half of what Medicare paid for "compounded" aerosols. Compounding is the process of a pharmacist making medication instead of a pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Click here to read more about the case.

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