Santa Monica Boulevard, which runs through Los Angeles from West Hollywood to the Santa Monica Pier, is a famous street in California that has inspired popular songs and is known for being a fun area to explore. Today, we learn more about the operator of a medical clinic located along Santa Monica Blvd., who was having fun running a $4.3 million Medicare fraud scheme. (I’m sure he laughed all the way to the bank.)
The doctor, who was from Tuston, California, had a bad habit of billing Medicare for unnecessary medical equipment and services that were mostly not provided. He employed recruiters to travel throughout the Southland, or Greater Los Angeles area, in search of Medicare beneficiaries that could be scammed.
For more than a decade, the recruiters found hundreds of victims and the doctor wrote prescriptions for medical supplies and home health services that were not needed. Some of the services that the doctor, located on Santa Monica Blvd., supposedly provided included blood draws, ultrasounds, toenail trimmings and food massages. (While the doctor met with many of the recruited patients, he typically did not examine them before submitting false claims to Medicare for services that were not provided.)
The 60-year-old doctor from California was sentenced to four years in prison for committing healthcare fraud. In addition to the time behind bars, he must pay restitution to Medicare in the amount of $4,334,464. (Who’s laughing now?)
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, “Doctor Sentenced to Federal Prison for Medicare Fraud,” posted on mynewsla.com on August 22, 2019.
A doctor who ran a clinic on Santa Monica Boulevard was sentenced Thursday to four years behind bars for his role in a Medicare fraud scheme.
Joseph R. Altamirano, 60, of Tuston, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge George H. Wu to pay restitution of $4,334,464, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Joseph R. Altamirano, Newport Beach physician, was convicted in federal court in 2017 of health care fraud. He was involved in an illegal scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting false and fraudulent claims of more than $21 million for services that were not provided and for medical conditions that beneficiaries were not experiencing.