Men Charged in Power Wheelchair Scam

Doctor and medical supply company owner found guilty in healthcare fraud cases

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A doctor and the owner of an Oceanside medical supply company were charged Wednesday in a million dollar power wheelchair scam.

    Dr. Irving Schwartz of Yuba City and Oceanside Medical Services owner Jose Melendrez were accused of selling prescriptions for power wheelchairs to senior citizens in the hopes of getting Medicare reimbursements, US District Attorney Laura Duffy announced Tuesday.

    Melendrez was arrested Wednesday in Long Beach. He faces charges of conspiracy, witness tampering and health care fraud.

    The indictment released Wednesday details the scam Melendrez and Schwartz performed.

    Investigators allege 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 allegedly sell the wheelchairs to a co-conspirator, and submit the fraudulent prescriptions to Medicare for reimbursement.

    They would allegedly bill Medicare over $5,000 in some cases for each wheelchair.

    Overall, the men are accused of submitting about $1.3 million in claims to Medicare.

    The two will appear in federal court at the end of the month for their initial court appearance. 

     

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