CLEVELAND — A Northeast Ohio man who was part of a $2 million health care scheme was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Thursday.
58-year-old Thomas O'Lear of North Canton was also ordered to pay $1,989,490 in restitution to Medicare.
O'Lear, the president of Portable Radiology Services (PRS) was sentenced after being convicted of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of nearly $2 million from billing for x-ray services that his company did not provide.
He also was part of a fraudulent cover-up scene to hide the crime and committed aggravated identity theft in doing so.
“This defendant wrongfully believed that he could cheat taxpayers by targeting nursing facilities and using the stolen identifies of vulnerable or deceased individuals to cover up his tracks,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler. “Protecting taxpayers and government healthcare programs from fraud is an important priority for the Department of Justice and law enforcement.”
Between 2013-2017, O'Lear had submitted thousands of false claims for reimbursement to Medicare, Medicaid and MCOs. The claims were for services that he did not provide and included approximately 151 x-ray services purportedly provided to patients on dates after the patients had died.
O'Lear received nearly $2 million in payments after submitting the fraudulent bills.
“Nobody needs X-rays after they’re dead, and the taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for them,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “This crook made victims of everybody who pays taxes, and he deserves every day of his sentence.”
O'Lear covered up the fraud during an audit by a Medicaid MCO, committing aggravated identity theft after he created false medical records, including forms for ordering x-rays and radiology reading reports.
He also falsified the signatures of employees and a physician that he claimed to have ordered the scripts.
“Medicare and Medicaid providers who submit fraudulent claims for reimbursement and engage in identity theft undermine the trust placed in them by the beneficiaries that utilize their services,” said Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General. “We will continue to work together with our law enforcement partners to ensure that individuals who commit fraud against federal health care programs are held accountable.”
The case was investigated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the Cleveland FBI and the Ohio Attorney General’s Healthcare Fraud Section. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elliot Morrison and Brendan O’Shea prosecuted the case.
“Criminal misconduct within the healthcare system is not only deceitful but also destructive,” said FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Gregory Nelsen. “Mr. O’Lear’s schemes are appalling. Those who abuse their position of trust for financial greed will not be tolerated. The FBI and our partners will continue to work collaboratively to identify and investigate those committing fraud with the intention of bilking government programs.”