The latest in a string of home health care fraud, a registered nurse who operated a home health agency in Los Angeles has been sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison for orchestrating a $5 million Medicare kickback scheme.
Hee Jung Mun operated GreatCare Home Health, Inc., an agency based in the Westlake district of L.A., and was sentenced this week to 57 months in prison and ordered to pay $5.144 million in restitution to Medicare.
Mun, who often used the name Angela Mun, pleaded guilty in 2012 and admitted to orchestrating a three-year scheme to defraud Medicare.
Her schemes included paying illegal kickbacks to doctors and patients known as “cappers” or “marketers” for patient referrals, and to patients themselves to sign up for home health services; billing Medicare for patients who were not homebound or who otherwise did not qualify for home health services; and billing Medicare for services provided by unlicensed individuals or not provided at all.
The scheme targeted elderly, primarily Korean, Medicare beneficiaries. GreatCare was shut down by federal agents after the execution of a search warrant there in March 2011.
As part of the investigation, authorities previously seized $1.2 million from bank accounts owned by Mun and GreatCare. Another federal judge ordered Mun to pay nearly $15 million to resolve a “whistleblower” lawsuit associated with the scheme.
Although Mun has been targeted as the leader of the scheme, several other defendants have been convicted in related cases for their roles in the GreatCare fraud: Sang Whan Ahn, Whan Sil Kim, Hwa Ja Kim, Yeong Ja Lee, Seonweon Kim and Jung Sook. An eight defendant, Ji Hae Kim, is a fugitive.
“Home health scams and the payment of illegal kickbacks to physicians remain serious problems in the Los Angeles area, costing taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Glenn R. Ferry, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) Los Angeles Region. “Home health remains a top oversight priority for OIG, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone who engages in home health fraud.”
Written by Emily Study