A judge sentenced a Florida man to 15 years in federal prison after running two consecutive healthcare fraud schemes.
Patsy Truglia, 54, of Parkland received his sentence Wednesday and will pay more than $18 million in restitution to government health programs and an insurance company, according to the Department of Justice. Officials say Truglia ran one fraud operation from January 2018 to April 2019 and another from April 2019 to July 2020.
There were several steps within his fraudulent process.
In the first operation, Truglia and one of his employees, Ruth Bianca Fernandez, created fake physician orders via their telemarketing operation for durable medical equipment, such as knee, back, wrist, and other types of braces.
Next, his telemarking business harvested personal and medical information which he then used to create fake DME orders. Third, he forwarded them to fake vendors in exchange for a fee, and illegally bribed physicians to sign the orders without ever contacting the beneficiaries. Once the illegal brace orders were returned to Truglia’s telemarketing operation, he used the orders as support for millions of dollars in false and fraudulent claims submitted to the Medicare program, according to the DOJ.
Truglia and Fernandez hid these deals across five different DME storefronts under his ownership. They filed around $25 million in fraudulent claims and received $12 million in payments.
In April 2019, authorities executed search warrants on several storefronts under “Operation Brace Yourself,” according to the DOJ. Truglia was forbidden from engaging in any other fraudulent conduct as part of the search. But, Truglia and several other coconspirators started a new operation in the same month that lasted until July 2020.
In the second operation, Truglia used similar tactics with three new DME storefronts and a different set of fake vendors. In this operation, they filed $12 million in fraudulent claims and received more than $6 million in payments.
Eventually, authorities caught up with him. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to running conspiracy charges for health care fraud and making a false statement involving a healthcare benefit program, according to the DOJ.
“Every defendant in this case shared a common trait — greed,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne. “The desire for money fueled them to commit crimes against our healthcare system and prey upon those in our society who deserve our highest respect, the elderly and military veterans.”
The court entered a monetary judgment totaling $10,117,738. They also ordered him to forfeit numerous assets, including $9,308,235.86 seized from various financial accounts, high-end automobiles (Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, and Mercedes), jewelry, and Truglia’s lakefront home.
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