A Chicago man was recently sentenced to 120 months in prison and ordered to pay $23.3 million in restitution for Medicare fraud committed while operating two Chicago-area home health companies.
Jacinto “John” Gabriel, Jr., 48, has been in custody since February 2014, when he entered a guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and tax evasion, according to the Chicago division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Gabriel used his home care companies — Perpetual Home Health, Inc. and Legacy Home Healthcare Services — to allegedly swindle Medicare out of more than $20 million, the FBI says in a statement. In addition to paying $23.3 million in restitution to the Medicare program, he must also pay $1.5 million to the Internal Revenue Service.
According to sentencing papers filed by the government, Gabriel fraudulently obtained confidential background information of hundreds of Medicare beneficiaries and then used that information to sign them up as patients of the companies that he controlled.
“Gabriel used elderly patients as commodities to bill Medicare,” the government wrote in its sentencing memorandum. “Patients were intentionally misdiagnosed with medical conditions that they did not have, and then used to bill Medicare for treatment that they did not need.”
Gabriel was charged with 11 other defendants, including doctors and company employees who were allegedly enlisted to help implement the scheme.
“In pleading guilty to the charges, Gabriel admitted to directing company staff to alter and create patient records and doctor’s orders to support fraudulent Medicare claims; to make payments to doctors and others for referring patients and signing doctor’s orders; and to divert proceeds of the fraud scheme to him through friends, associates, and shell companies,” the FBI says.
Written by Cassandra Dowell