A Paramount woman pleaded guilty Thursday to her role in a healthcare fraud scheme that prosecutors suspect billed Medicare well over $24 million for medically unnecessary power wheelchairs and the repair of medical equipment.
Cynthia Karina Marquez, 45, entered her plea to two federal counts of making false statements affecting a healthcare program. U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin set an April 9 sentencing hearing in downtown Los Angeles.
According to the indictment, Tamara Yvonne Motley operated Action Medical Equipment and Supplies, which was based in Hawthorne until 2014, and Kaja Medical Equipment & Supply, which was based in Ventura until late 2016.
Marquez worked as an office manager at both Action and Kaja, and the third co-defendant, Juan Roberto Murillo, 42, of Montebello, worked at both companies as a repair technician, according the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Motley allegedly orchestrated a scheme in which corrupt physicians prescribed medically unnecessary durable medical equipment, such as power wheelchairs, and oversaw the submission of bogus bills to Medicare, according to prosecutors.
In January 2011, when Medicare changed the reimbursement rules for the wheelchairs, Action largely stopped Medicare billing for the chairs and, instead, started billing Medicare for repairs, prosecutors allege.
Action and Kaja allegedly submitted bills for repair or replacement services that were not medically necessary, were not needed to make the wheelchairs serviceable and often, simply were not performed. The majority of bills submitted in the case involve fraudulent repair work, according to the indictment.
Motley, 49, of Redondo Beach — also known as Tamara Ogembe — is expected to go to trial in April. Murillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and is set for sentencing in March.