Monday, October 3, 2011

Jury Convicts DME Business Owner Juan De Leon Jr., of Health Care Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft Scheme


McALLEN, TX—A federal jury in McAllen has convicted the owner of a durable medical equipment business in connection with a health care fraud and aggravated identity theft scheme, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today along with Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General (DHHS-OIG) Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields, FBI Special Agent in Charge Cory Nelson, and Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott.

After a four-day trial and approximately one hour of deliberation, the jury found Juan De Leon Jr., 41, of Edinburg, Texas, guilty of all charged counts including conspiracy, three counts of health care fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Following the jury’s verdicts, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, who presided over the trial, remanded De Leon to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing scheduled for Dec. 8, 2011. De Leon faces up to 10 years in federal prison without parole for the conspiracy and health care fraud convictions, as well as a mandatory two-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft conviction which must be served consecutively to any sentence imposed for the conspiracy and health care fraud convictions.

At trial, the United States presented evidence that De Leon, who owned and operated United DME Inc.—a durable medical equipment company located in Weslaco, Texas—directed the submission of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs for a variety of items and alleged health care services. Specifically, the United States proved that De Leon billed or directed his staff to bill Medicare and Medicaid for power wheelchairs that were not delivered to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. In some cases, De Leon would instead provide the beneficiaries with less expensive and more difficult to operate scooters that they could not use for a variety of medical reasons. In other cases, De Leon or his staff submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid that contained dates of delivery after the beneficiary had passed away. The United States also presented evidence regarding the submission of fraudulent claims for diabetic supplies and other medical items that were not delivered to beneficiaries. According to the evidence at trial, De Leon attempted to conceal the scheme by altering records contained within patient files including backdating delivery dates and forging patient signatures on delivery tickets.

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