California – A federal jury found a Brea, California, woman guilty yesterday of fraud charges for her role in a $6 million Medicare fraud scheme involving billing for occupational therapy services that were not medically necessary and not actually provided.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region and Assistant Director in Charge Paul D. Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division made the announcement.
After a five-day trial, Grace Hong, 53, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and three counts of health care fraud. Sentencing has been scheduled for July 29, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge George H. Wu of the Central District of California, who presided over the trial.
According to evidence presented at trial, from 2009 to 2012, Grace Hong and her husband, Simon Hong, 57, operated a therapy clinic in Walnut, California, known as JH Physical Therapy, Inc. As part of the scheme, Grace Hong and her co-conspirators provided uncovered services like acupuncture and massage to Medicare beneficiaries. Even though the beneficiaries did not receive actual occupational therapy, Grace Hong and her co-conspirators billed Medicare for physical and occupational therapy services that had not been provided, and then funneled most of the Medicare reimbursements to companies owned by Simon Hong. Grace Hong also directed co-conspirator therapists in falsifying medical records to make it appear as if the services billed had been provided, the evidence showed.
Through this scheme, Grace Hong and her co-conspirators billed Medicare from October 2009 until December 2012 approximately $6,014,281 in false claims, and received approximately $3,981,014, the evidence showed.
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