Homestead nurse practitioner convicted in $200 million Medicare fraud scheme
Elizabeth Hernandez, 45, routinely billed more than 24 hours of “office visits” in a day and pocketed about $1.6 million, federal prosecutors said.
A Miami federal jury this week convicted a nurse practitioner from Homestead of defrauding Medicare by turning in more than $200 million in false and fraudulent claims.
The claims were for expensive genetic testing and medical equipment that the Medicare beneficiaries did not need, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami.
Elizabeth Hernandez, 45, routinely billed more than 24 hours of “office visits” in a day. She pocketed about $1.6 million, which she used to purchase expensive cars, jewelry, home renovations and travel, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said she signed thousands of orders for medically unnecessary orthotic braces and genetic tests.
“As part of the scheme, telemarketing companies would contact Medicare beneficiaries to convince them to request orthotic braces and genetic tests, and then send pre-filled orders for these products to Hernandez, who signed them, attesting that she had examined or treated the patients,” officials said. “In reality, she had never spoken with many of the patients.
Department of Justice officials said Hernandez ordered more cancer genetic tests for Medicare beneficiaries than any other provider in the nation, including oncologists and geneticists, and then billed Medicare as if she had examined each patient.
She will be sentenced Dec. 14.