Palm Beach Medicare Fraudster Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud & Money Laundering

wpb.jpgOn September 6, 2007, Gianni Suarez Vazquez, a participant in a massive Medicare fraud scheme, pled guilty in federal court in West palm Beach, Florida, to mail fraud and money laundering charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks on November 15, 2007.
According to the court records, between November 2003 and August 2004, Suarez Vazquez incorporated or set up two medical equipment companies, GK Medical, Inc. and Suplident International Corporation, in Palm Beach County. Thereafter, he obtained Medicare provider numbers for both companies to enable the companies to submit claims directly to Medicare. To conceal his ownership and control of the companies, Suarez Vazquez designated “strawmen” as company owners, including his mother, on the corporate documents and Medicare Provider Agreements.
After setting up the companies, Suarez Vazquez and his partners obtained patient and physician information, which they used to prepare bogus prescriptions and/or certificates of medical necessity. The bogus prescriptions and certificates purported to authorize the provision of various types of medical equipment for the named Medicare beneficiaries. In truth, however, the prescriptions and certificates were prepared by the defendant’s accomplices and contained forged physician signatures.
Suarez Vazquez and his partners provided the bogus prescriptions and certificates to Miami billing companies for submission to Medicare. The billing companies prepared Medicare claims that sought reimbursement for the cost of the equipment listed in the bogus prescriptions and certificates, even though such equipment was never authorized by a physician or provided to the beneficiaries.
During the four-month period between November 18, 2003 and March 23, 2004, GK Medical caused the billing companies to submit more than $5.2 million in fraudulent claims. During the two-month period between June 7, 2004 and August 12, 2004, Suplident caused the billing companies to submit more than $4.5 million in fraudulent claims. Medicare processed the fraudulent claims and issued reimbursement checks, most of which the defendant and his accomplices cashed at Miami check cashing stores. In total, during the course of the scheme, the defendant Suarez Vazquez and his partners submitted more than $9.8 million in bogus Medicare claims.
On August 4, 2004, the defendant and his mother, Maura Vazquez, fled the United States for Costa Rica after Maura Vazquez received a federal grand jury subpoena requiring the production of business records for GK Medical. Suarez Vazquez was brought back to the United States to face these charges in June 2007.

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