An Elmhurst man was arrested in connection with a $12 million health care fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Roger A. Lucero, 62, of Elmhurst, and Rick E. Brown, 56, of Rockford, opened and operated Medicall Physicians Group Ltd., a home-visiting physician practice in Schaumburg, according to the 10-count indictment unsealed Oct. 29. A third co-conspirator, Mary C. Talaga, 53, of Elmwood Park, allegedly submitted the company's bills to Medicare.
Brown instructed employees to bill Medicare for patient oversight and other services that were never provided, and Lucero created back-dated records in an effort to conceal the fraudulent billings, according to the indictment.
Talaga is alleged to have billed Medicare for these services even though she knew they had not been documented, a practice that required her to fabricate the information submitted to Medicare.
Medicare allegedly paid the company about $4.7 million for fraudulently reported services from January 2007 to December 2011.
The three are charged with health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. They also are charged with making false statements relating to health care matters, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and brought by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.
Since its inception in 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5 billion.
An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.