Chicago jury finds Florida doctor guilty of fraud charges

Chronicle Media

A federal jury in Chicago has convicted a physician on fraud charges for approving medically unnecessary tests that were billed to Medicare.

While working for Chicago-based Grand Medical Clinic Inc., Dr. Omar Garcia authorized percutaneous allergen tests for numerous Medicare beneficiaries, knowing that the tests were not medically necessary. In most instances, Garcia issued his approval after the tests had already been completed. Garcia submitted or caused to be submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare for payment of the unnecessary tests.

The jury in Chicago federal court on Feb. 10 convicted Garcia, 52, of Ocala, Florida, formerly of Wilmington, Illinois, on all six counts of health care fraud. Each count is punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly set sentencing for May 6.

The Chicago office of the FBI, Chicago region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, and inspector general of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board conducted the investigation. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management and U.S. Food and Drug Administration assisted the investigation.

Evidence at the five-day trial revealed that Garcia’s fraud scheme began in 2011 and continued until 2015. Garcia and others submitted fraudulent bills from Grand Medical and other medical entities to reduce the volume of billing by any single company and minimize scrutiny from Medicare. After the entities received payments from Medicare, Garcia was paid via checks reflecting his percentage of the payments.