Woman Guilty In $20M Medicare Fraud Scheme

MIAMI (AP) — A South Florida woman has pleaded guilty to involvement in several health care fraud schemes that cost the Medicare program an estimated $20 million in losses.

Former Merfi Corp. clinic owner Isabel Medina pleaded guilty Tuesday in Miami federal court to health care fraud conspiracy, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. The 49-year-old Medina will be sentenced in March.

Federal prosecutors say Merfi received kickbacks and bribes from home health care agencies in return for fake prescriptions and phony medical documents. Those documents were used to bill Medicare for costly physical therapy and other services that were not necessary or never provided.

The case was prosecuted by the federal Medicare Strike Force, which has charged about 1,700 people in nine cities who fraudulently billed Medicare for $5.5 billion.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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