[KHTS] – The owner and two employees of Ezcor-9000, listed as a medical supply company in Valencia, are among the 90 individuals charged in a recent Medicare Fraud Strike Force crackdown.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force cracked down on 90 doctors and medical suppliers across the nation in their most recent investigation, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced Tuesday.
And this particular strike hits close to home, with a Valencia business among those charged with thousands of dollars in fraud.
Six cities, including Los Angeles, were targeted in the strike.
“Eight defendants were charged in Los Angeles for their roles in schemes to defraud Medicare of approximately $32 million,” according to a press release from the United States Department of Justice.”
Sylvia Ogbenyeanu Walter-Eze, the owner of Ezcor-9000, and Judith Bangcayo Estrella and Wilmer David Guzman, marketers for the company, are listed among those defendants.
Ezcor-9000, described by court documents as a “durable medical equipment supply company,” is located at 25383 Wayne Mills Place in Valencia, according to YellowPages.com.
The charges listed against Walter-Eze, Estrella and Guzman include Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud, Health Care Fraud and Conspiracy to Pay and Receive Health Care Kickbacks.
The fraud took place between 2007 and 2012, according to the findings of U.S. District Court grand jury in January.
The scheme involved multiple bank accounts and false prescriptions for medical supplies, according to court documents.
“At defendant Walter-Eze’s instruction, the ‘marketers,’ including defendants Estrella and Guzman, would take or refer the beneficiaries to medical clinics, doctors’ offices, and other locations where fraudulent prescriptions and medical documents were generated using the beneficiaries personal information and HICNs (Health Identification Card Number),” according to court documents. “Defendant Walter-Eze would then acquire these false and fraudulent prescriptions and other documents…for the purpose of using these prescriptions and documents to submit and cause the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal on behalf of Ezcor.”
The grand jury identified five fraudulent claims submitted by Ezcor-9000, totalling more than $19,700. Of this money, Estrella received $5,600 and Guzman received $3,470.
Ezcor-9000 could not be reached for comment Wednesday, as the company’s telephone number, listed as 661-295-0542 on YellowPages.com, is no longer in service.
“We all feel the effects of health care fraud,” said FBI Assistant Director Campbell, in the Department of Justice press release. “It leads to higher health care costs and makes it harder for seniors and those who are ill to get the care they need. The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to preventing and prosecuting health care fraud at all levels. But we need the public’s help. Take the time to be aware of fraud and call law enforcement if you see anything suspicious included in the billings to your insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid or have any unusual encounters with health care providers.”
In light of the recent findings by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, the Department of Justice also cautioned that “a complaint or indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”
For more information about Medicare fraud and the court documents for the case against Walter-Eze, Estrella and Guzman,click here.