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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Chicago Home health-care operator charged with a $20 million Medicare fraud scheme : June 29, 2011

Chicago Tribune : Staff report

A Chicago man who operated two now-defunct home health-care businesses has been indicted in connection with a $20 million Medicare fraud scheme, federal officials said today.

Jacinto "John" Gabriel Jr., 43, submitted millions of dollars in false claims for reimbursement by Medicare for services that were never provided, medically unnecessary or substantially price-inflated, prosecutors said.

The businesses were Perpetual Home Health Inc., based in Oak Forest, and Legacy Home Healthcare Services on Chicago's North Side. Both have ceased operations and no longer receive Medicare payments, according to prosecutors.

But between May 2006 and January of this year, Pepetual alone submitted more than 14,000 Medicare claims and received more than $38 million in Medicare payments, making it one of the largest recipients of Medicare payments for home health-care services in Illinois, the government said.

Gabriel and unnamed co-schemers used the Medicare proceeds to gamble at casinos in the Chicago area and Las Vegas, and for automobiles, jewelry and real estate in the United States and the Philippines, prosecutors said.

They also bribed physicians with gifts and cash and paid kickbacks to others for patient referrals, the indictment charged.


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