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Doctor Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Medicare Out Of $11M

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California doctor has pleaded guilty to conspiring to bilk Medicare out of more than $11 million by exaggerating patients’ symptoms to obtain wheelchairs and other medical equipment.

Juan Tomas Van Putten pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s scheduled to be sentenced March 28.

Federal prosecutors say the 66-year-old Van Putten received cash kickbacks from medical supply companies to write prescriptions for wheelchairs that he knew the patients didn’t need. Van Putten said he knew the companies would use the prescriptions to submit false claims to Medicare.

Of the $11 million in fraudulent claims sent to Medicare, prosecutors said Van Putten and several co-defendants received about $5.8 million. Five others await trial.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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