LOS ANGELES – An investigation by special agents in the California Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, in partnership with federal investigators, has lead to a jury conviction of a former owner of a medical equipment supply company in Southern California.
On March 20, 2015, the United States Department of Justice announced that a jury in federal court found Sylvia Walter-Eze, 48, of Stevenson Ranch, guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, four counts of health care fraud, and one count of conspiracy to pay and receive illegal kickbacks.
Walter-Eze owned Ezcore Medical Supply in Valencia when she paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters in exchange for patient referrals. In addition, Walter-Eze paid kickbacks to physicians for fraudulent prescriptions, primarily for expensive power wheelchairs that were medically unnecessary, that she then used to support her fraudulent bills to Medicare and Medi-Cal.
Between 2007 and 2012, Walter-Eze submitted $3,521,786 in claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal and received $1,939,529 in reimbursement for those claims.
“Health care fraud is rampant in this country and leads to higher health care costs for all of us,” said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association which represents California Department of Justice special agents. “DOJ special agents need the help of consumers, check the billing that is sent to your insurance company and report anything that shouldn’t be there.”
The case involving Walter-Eze was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the California Department of Justice.
Walter-Eze is scheduled to be sentenced on June 15, 2015.