Florida Woman Gets 20 Years For Nearly $200,000,000 Medicare Scam

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Mariane Angela Contributor
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A Florida woman was sentenced Thursday to 20 years for orchestrating a Medicare fraud scheme, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

Elizabeth Hernandez, 45, billed the government over $192 million, according to the DOJ. Hernandez exploited Medicare by making false claims for genetic tests, durable medical equipment and telemedicine consultations that patients neither needed nor received, the DOJ stated.

Hernandez engaged in a scheme involving telemarketing companies that contacted Medicare beneficiaries, according to the outlet. Hernandez coerced them into accepting unnecessary orthotic braces and genetic tests while she signed off on thousands of orders for unneeded medical services without any direct interaction, examination or treatment of these patients, according to the outlet. Hernandez also billed Medicare for numerous telemedicine visits that never occurred, according to the DOJ.

The personal gain from this fraud was substantial for Hernandez, who pocketed approximately $1.6 million, according to the DOJ. Hernandez spent this ill-gotten income on an extravagant lifestyle, including luxury cars, jewelry, extensive home renovations and travel. (RELATED: DOJ Charges Man In Alleged $148,000,000 Urine Test Fraud Scheme)

The Department of Justice’s Fraud Section spearheads the battle against healthcare fraud with the aid of the Healthcare Fraud Strike Force Program. Initiated in March 2007, the program operates through nine strike forces in 27 federal districts, according to the DOJ. Their collective efforts have led to charges against over 5,400 defendants, who have billed federal healthcare programs and private insurers a staggering total of more than $27 billion, CBS12 reported.