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18 charged in alleged $25-million Medicare fraud scheme in Southern California

October 21, 2009 | 10:53 am

Authorities charged 18 people in an alleged $25-million Medicare fraud scheme operated out of Southern California.

Prosecutors alleged that the defendants fraudulently ordered power wheelchairs, hospital beds and other equipment. They charged Michael Martinez, 30, of Long Beach and six other people  with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and for making false statements to the government.

"Martinez allegedly recruited relatives and individuals linked to the Santa Ana-based Brook Street Gang to act as straw owners for four fraudulent DME companies," officials said in a statement.

"Today's indictments and arrests are important achievements in our ongoing fight against Medicare fraud, but there is more that we can, and will, do," said Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general of the criminal division, in the statement.

--Shelby Grad

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