13-Year Prison Sentence for Woman Involved in Medicare Fraud Scheme

A woman involved in an $8 million Medicare fraud scheme received a 156-month federal prison sentence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced.

Uben Ogbu Rush, of Carson, Calif., was sentenced to 13 years in prison by a United States District Judge for her role in a fraud case where she illegally paid kickbacks for referrals to patients whose Medicare beneficiary information was used to make bogus reimbursement claims.

Rush was “motivated by greed,” said the judge during the hearing. Part of his reasoning for the lengthy sentence was to sent a message to deter others from committing crimes against Medicare.

Rush owned or controlled six durable medical equipment (DM) companies that sold products including motorized wheelchairs and powered pressure-reducing mattresses, according to the FBI. The companies were located in Carson, Gardena, Torrance, and Paramount. 

During a November 2011 trial, federal prosecutors showed a jury how Rush paid marketers to recruit Medicare beneficiaries who would let Rush’s companies use their identities and Medicare numbers to submit false reimbursement claims.

Prosecutors also had evidence showing that Rush paid kickbacks to the marketers, who in turn paid kickbacks to doctors who fraudulently wrote prescriptions, even when those physicians hadn’t examined the patients, or an examination revealed that the medical equipment was not medically necessary, says the FBI.

Between 1999 and 2008, Rush submitted more than $15 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare seeking reimbursement for various DME products for patients who did not need the equipment. Of those claims, Medicare reimbursed more than $8.1 million. 

Last June, Rush’s co-defendant, Carlos Alberto Rezabala was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison. Rezabala was a recruiter who brought beneficiaries into the Medicare fraud scheme to use their information for submitting false claims, according to the FBI.

Another co-defendant, also a recruiter, is scheduled for sentencing on May 20. Additionally, a physician defendant who testified at the trial that he was paid for writing fraudulent prescriptions for Medicare beneficiaries whom he never saw, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 28. 

The FBI conducted the investigation on Rush and her Medicare fraud scheme. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace

Alyssa Gerace

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