BOSTON – A California woman was sentenced yesterday for her role in a multi-million-dollar Medicare fraud scheme.
Stefanie Hirsch, 51, of Los Angeles, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. to three years of probation. Hirsch was also ordered to pay a fine of $2,500. On Feb. 24, 2021, Hirsch pleaded guilty to violating the HIPAA statute.
Hirsch sold access to a Medicare eligibility tool that allowed Juan C. Perez Buitrago and Nathan LaParl to improperly access patients’ detailed personal, demographic, medical and insurance information. Hirsch owned EI Medical, Inc., a Medicare-enrolled wheelchair and scooter repair company that qualified for access to a health care clearinghouse that contains Medicare patients’ personal, medical and insurance information. Hirsch improperly gave Perez Buitrago and LaParl access to that clearinghouse and charged them about $0.25 per patient eligibility check. Using Hirsch’s credentials, LaParl accessed the personal and medical data of more than 350,000 patients and Perez Buitrago’s credentials were used for 150,000 patients.
Perez Buitrago and LaParl pleaded guilty to federal health care crimes in October 2020 and January 2021, respectively.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Johnnie Sharp Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Birmingham Field Division; Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Boston Division; and Joshua McCallister, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elysa Q. Wan of Mendell’s Health Care Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.