A Los Angeles-area doctor pleaded guilty today to defrauding Medicare of over $11 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Dr. Juan Tomas Van Putten, 66, of Ladera Heights, admitted to getting patients for his medical clinic, Greater South Bay Medical Group, which was located in Carson, and his nursing home from street-level patient recruiters or "marketers," state federal officials.
The marketers illegally solicited patients with Medicare benefits for the expensive, highly-specialized power wheelchairs and other medical equipment that patients did not need, according to federal authorities.
The marketers worked for the operators of fraudulent DME Supply companies, including Van Putten's co-defendants Charles Agbu, a church pastor and his daughter Obiageli Agbu who both operated Bonfee Inc., doing business as "Bonfee Medical Supplies," and Ibon Inc., which were located in Carson.
Van Putten admitted that operators of DME Supply paid him cash kickbacks to write prescriptions for power wheelchairs that were not needed, according to federal officials.
Charles Agbu and Obiageli will go on trial in February.
Co-defendants Dr. Emmanuel Ayodele; Alejandro Maciel and Candalaria Estrada have been charged for their roles in the alleged conspiracy, according to federal prosecutors.
Van Putten is facing up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in March.