An Ocala physician formerly of Chicago has been convicted on fraud charges for approving medically unnecessary tests that were billed to Medicare.
A federal jury in Chicago handed down the verdict this past Monday against 52-year-old Dr. Omar Garcia. While working for Chicago-based Grand Medical Clinic Inc., Garcia authorized percutaneous allergen tests for numerous Medicare beneficiaries. The jury ruled that Garcia knew the tests were not medically necessary, and in most instances it was found that he issued his approval after the tests already had been completed.
Garcia, formerly of Wilmington, Ill., was convicted on six counts of healthcare fraud. Each count is punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly set sentencing for May 6.
The conviction was announced by John R. Lausch Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General; and Martin J. Dickman, Inspector General of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provided assistance and the government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kavitha J. Babu and Saurish Appleby-Bhattacharjee.
Evidence at the five-day trial revealed that Garcia’s fraud scheme began in 2011 and continued until 2015. He and others submitted the fraudulent bills from Grand Medical and other entities in an attempt 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.