A Chapel Hill woman was found guilty Thursday of paying kickbacks and bribes for physical therapy services that were never provided, the U.S. Department of Justice reported.
Jaroslava Ruiz, 50, was convicted by a federal jury in Miami, Florida, of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, and nine counts of health care fraud, department officials said in a news release.
She could serve up to 20 years in prison on the conspiracy count, and up to 10 years in prison on each health care fraud count, they said. She could be sentenced in a federal district court on Oct. 26.
Ruiz was accused of working with others to defraud private health insurers of more than $34 million in “false and fraudulent claims for physical therapy services,” Justice Department officials said in the release Monday.
Prosecutors said Ruiz paid kickbacks and bribes to patients and patient recruiters in return for allowing four physical therapy clinics in Miami to bill for services that were never provided to patients. The clinics submitted $34.6 million in false and fraudulent claims and received payment of roughly $7.7 million from several private insurers, they said.
The suspects ”falsified medical records to give the impression that the physical therapy services were medically necessary, prescribed by a doctor, and actually rendered,” the release said. “In truth and fact, none or virtually none of the purported services had been provided.”
The FBI is continuing to investigate the case, it said.
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