The owner of a durable medical equipment (DME) company in Fort Myers was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for his role in a scam that bilked Medicare and Medicaid out of $1.6 million.
Earlier this year, North Miami resident Daniel Pintado Cazola, 42, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, and mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, Pintado Cazola attempted to conceal his role as owner of Myers Professional Services, a DME company in Fort Myers by using a “straw” owner on the company’s corporate records and bank account.
As part of his guilty plea, he admitted that he, and not the straw owner, purchased lists of Medicare patients and then told a biller to submit claims to Medicare for DME equipment that was not prescribed nor medically necessary and wasn’t even being supplied to patients.
From November 2021 to February 2022, Myers Professional Services billed more than $2.3 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid. The company had been paid more than $1.6 million before he was arrested in Miami-Dade County. At that time, he also was charged with resisting arrest without violence. The money paid was transferred from Myers to accounts held by shell companies and then withdrawn by others so it could not be traced back to Pintado Cazola.
The government seized approximately $371,000 from Pintado Cazola last month.
When it comes to DME fraud, the government isn’t kidding around. In recent months, several fraudsters have been indicted or sentenced in this type of fraud.
In July, a North Carolina doctor was indicted in an $11 million scheme in which she allegedly signed fraudulent orders for medically unnecessary durable medical equipment, specifically knee braces.
In May, the owners and operators of four orthotic brace suppliers in Texas and Arkansas were convicted for their part in a $6.5 million kickback scheme that included federal anti-kickback law violations.
And in March, Zachary S. Seid, 35, of Boynton Beach and Anthony Cracchiolo, 42 of Parkland were arrested for allegedly paying more than $565,000 in kickbacks to buy fake DME prescriptions, including prescriptions “signed” by doctors who never actually signed or authorized them and didn’t know that their names and identities were being so used.
The Health Law Offices of Anthony C. Vitale can provide you with compliance oversight services, assuring that your business relationships are compliant with all federal and state fraud, waste and abuse laws. We also represent healthcare professionals in state and federal court who are charged with fraudulent billing, kickbacks, Medicare and Medicaid fraud and false claims, among others. For more information you can contact us at 305-358-4500 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss how we might be able to assist you.