Local woman sentenced for Medicare fraud
Oddeth Afara pleaded guilty in June
Last Updated: 421 days ago
SAN DIEGO -
The owner of an El Cajon medical supply store, who participated in a scheme to defraud the Medicare trust fund out of more than $320,000, was sentenced Monday to a year and a day in federal prison and ordered to pay full restitution.
Oddeth Afara, 30, pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
According to court documents, Afara was the owner and operator of Trinity Heart Medical Supply, a company that sold "durable medical equipment" such as power wheelchairs and hospital beds.
Afara admitted that she tricked Medicare into paying her company more than $320,000 based upon false and fraudulent claims for power wheelchairs.
According to admissions in her plea agreement, Afara purchased scores of bogus prescriptions for power wheelchairs, knowing that the Medicare beneficiaries who were to receive the machines did not need them and could walk without any assistance.
The defendant admitted that most of the fraudulent prescriptions had forged physicians' signatures, and provided false diagnoses that were used to justify the unnecessary power wheelchairs.
The scheme -- in which the defendant submitted 82 false claims for wheelchairs -- lasted more than a year, from April 2008 to June 2009.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan said Afara's scheme hurt all Medicare beneficiaries by inflating the overall cost of health care and siphoning money from the Medicare trust fund that could have been used to fund legitimate medical services.
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