Spain is a wonderful nation. Well known for its culture-rich array of food, music and sports, the European country is also one that has been sought out as a place of asylum by two women who are currently on the Office of Inspector General’s list of Most Wanted Fugitives. There are over 170 individuals on this list, all of whom have been charged with crimes related to health care fraud and/or abuse.
The first of the two women in question is Aiza Rodriguez. Along with her partner, Daniel Guerra, she was indicted on health care fraud charges back in August of 2006. Among the many charges laid against the couple were conspiracy to commit money laundering and paying kickbacks.
According to OIG, Rodriguez and Guerra are believed to have received more than $9 million in Medicare reimbursements for durable medical equipment (DME) that was either not medically necessary or never delivered to a qualified Medicare beneficiary. Both individuals owned their own Miami, Florida-based DME companies. Their indictment states that they each paid kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters who gave their companies Medicare beneficiaries whom they could use to bill Medicare.
“The beneficiaries were also paid and bribed in exchange for their Medicare identification numbers along with their prescriptions for DME and related services,” reads their OIG fugitive profile, “The defendants fraudulently completed Medicare-required orthotic measurement forms for DME without an orthotist or orthotic fitter ever having measured a patient. Guerra and Rodriguez then forged the signatures of doctors on DME prescriptions and paid doctors to sign blank certificates of medical necessity.”
Today, the couple is incarcerated in Spain. U.S. authorities are working with the Spanish Government to have Rodriguez and Guerra extradited back to the United States. They fled the country for Madrid after a warrant was issued for their arrest.
Maria Del Pilar Moreira
The second of the two women who fled the United States for Spain is Maria Del Pilar Moreira. She and her husband, Miguel Angel Hernandez were indicted on charges of conspiracy and health care fraud in November of 2014. It is believed that the couple submitted upwards of $7 million in false claims to Medicare.
As OIG reports, Hernandez and Moreira owned and operated East Point Medical Center and Family First Medical Center in Georgia, providing such services as physical therapy, occupational therapy and massage therapy. Their indictment states they submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for medical services that were either medically unnecessary or not provided at all.
The couple’s fraudulent actions included billing for expensive trigger point injections when they were only administering vitamin B-12 shots. The difference in cost between the two types of injections is nearly $60. “In addition, the couple billed for medical services on days when they actually drove patients to restaurants for parties,” says their OIG fugitive profile.
It also notes that Hernandez and Moreira’s Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries were offered massages, cash, gift cards, food, dollar prizes and raffles for televisions to encourage them to visit their clinic on a regular basis. Today, the couple is believed to be in Spain, having fled the U.S. after becoming aware of the investigation into their criminal practices.
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