A 45-year-old woman from Florida, Elizabeth Hernandez, has been sentenced to 20 years for orchestrating a Medicare fraud scheme, as announced by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Hernandez fraudulently billed the government over $192 million by submitting false claims for genetic tests, durable medical equipment, and telemedicine consultations that patients neither required nor received.
Her fraudulent activities involved collaborating with telemarketing companies that targeted Medicare beneficiaries.
Hernandez coerced these individuals into accepting unnecessary orthotic braces and genetic tests, approving thousands of orders for unnecessary medical services without any direct interaction, examination, or treatment of the patients.
Additionally, she billed Medicare for numerous telemedicine visits that never took place.
Hernandez personally gained approximately $1.6 million from the fraud, which she used to fund an extravagant lifestyle. This included purchases of luxury cars, jewelry, extensive home renovations, and travel.
The Department of Justice’s Fraud Section leads the fight against healthcare fraud through the Healthcare Fraud Strike Force Program.
Launched in March 2007, the program operates through nine strike forces in 27 federal districts, resulting in charges against over 5,400 defendants.
These individuals collectively billed federal healthcare programs and private insurers over $27 billion, as reported by CBS12.