Illinois Woman Bilks $400K in Home Care Medicare Fraud

Home health operator Merigrace Orillo pleaded guilty this week in a federal court in Rockford, Illinois, to health care fraud and kickback violations through the home health care agency she formerly owned, Chalice Home Healthcare Services, Inc.

From January 2007 through April 2010, Orillo and her husband falsified OASIS documents in order to increase payments received from Medicare to home care services provided by the company. Orillo admitted to the scheme, which she said led to more than $400,000 in losses to Medicare.

The falsified documents made patients appear to require more services than were actually needed. In the plea agreement, Orillo also admitted she knowingly assisted her husband in paying cash kickbacks to a Chicago doctor, pied in return for the doctor referring patients to Chalice for home health care services.

An indictment filed on February 15, 2011 charged both Orillo and her husband with health care fraud and the charges against her husband were dismissed upon his death in 2011, according to court documents.

The fraud charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence and up to a $250,000 fine. Sentencing has been set for July 19.

Orillo, who co-owned Chalice Home Healthcare Services with her husband, Virgillo Orillo, had offices in Chicago, Freeport and Morris, Illinois.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker