Michigan Healthcare Agency Owner Convicted in $1.6 Million Healthcare Fraud Scheme
Unfortunately, for those who seek to defraud the government’s healthcare programs for the poor and elderly, the government arsenal includes more than settlements and Corporation Integrity Agreements. This was shown earlier this week when a federal jury in Detroit found the owner of Anointed Care Services, a Detroit area home health care agency, guilty for her role in a $1.6 million scheme to defraud Medicare by filing false claims. The jury further found the owner – Editha Manzano, 69, of Troy, Michigan – guilty of procuring home health services through the use of kickbacks and of providing patients with medically unnecessary treatments. Specifically, Manzano was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks and one count of health care fraud. Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for April 19, 2018 in the Eastern District of Michigan. The judge who presided over the trial – U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain – is also scheduled to sentence Manzano.
According to the evidence present at trial, Manzano and her co-conspirators engaged in a $1.6 million scheme to defraud Medicare for home health care services. This scheme took place from 2013 to 2016 and was in connection with Manzano’s business Anointed Care Services (Anointed). The evidence showed that Manzano paid illegal kickbacks for patients to sign up for home health services with her company. Further evidence showed that Manzano also conspired with several physicians to admit patients for home health care who did not qualify for such services. Lastly, evidence also showed that Manzano and her co-conspirators falsified medical records in order to support these actions.
Five defendants in total were charged in this case. Liberty Jaramillo, 67, of Troy, Michigan, pleaded guilty in June 2017 and is awaiting sentencing. Dr. Roberto Quizon, 71, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, pleaded guilty in June of 2017 and is awaiting sentencing. Additionally, Dr. Victoria Gallardo-Navarra was acquitted after trial and Juan Yrorita pleaded guilty during trial and is awaiting sentencing. This conviction was made possible by the efforts of the Fraud Section which leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since 2007, The Department of Justice and HHS has been vigorously pursuing those who are believed to have defrauded Medicare and Medicaid. As a result of these efforts, the Medicare Strike Force has charged more than 3,500 defendants of fraud which has cost Medicare more than $12.5 billion.