A local doctor admitted in court Thursday to writing nearly 200 fraudulent power wheelchair prescriptions for Medicare patients in exchange for more than $55,000 in bribes and kickbacks, the U.S. Attorney announced.
Dr. Irving Schwartz of Yuba City and Oceanside Medical Services owner Jose Melendrez pleaded guilty to selling prescriptions for power wheelchairs to senior citizens in the hopes of getting Medicare reimbursements, U.S. District Attorney Laura Duffy said.
Investigators found that Schwartz would visit Medicare patients in El Centro and write them prescriptions for the power wheelchairs -- even if the patients didn't need them at all.
Each prescription earned the two about $300 in a cash kickback.
Melendrez would then sell the wheelchairs to a co-conspirator, and submit the fraudulent prescriptions to Medicare for reimbursement.
They billed Medicare over $5,000 in some cases for each wheelchair. Overall, the men submitted more than $1 million in claims to Medicare.