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Norwalk Man Must Pay $2M Fine in Kickback Scheme at Downey Facility

The elderly administrator of a California hospice agency has been ordered to pay more than $2.1 million after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in a sprawling $28 million scheme.

The Department of Justice announced the ruling for 80-year-old Antonio Olivera, of Norwalk, CA, who was also sentenced to 30 months in prison for the Medicare fraud scheme. He pleaded to the crime in November.

Olivera served as the administrator for Mhiramarc Management LLC, which provides hospice and home health services in Downey, CA. From 2011 to 2018, he paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters for referring Mhiramarc’s hospice services. He also overruled clinical staff decisions when they found that Medicare beneficiaries didn’t need the services, causing patients to be placed on the company’s hospice services.

The scheme resulted in the hospice agency submitting about $28 million in Medicare claims, resulting in it being overpaid by $17 million.

“Olivera was personally responsible for $4,769,982 in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, resulting in Medicare paying Mhiramarc $2,984,914 for medically unnecessary hospice services for beneficiaries, many of whom had been recruited through illegal kickbacks,” according to the Department of Justice.