Nurse in Medicare Fraud Sentenced to 46 Months

A nurse convicted of defrauding Medicare of $40 million was sentenced to 46 months in prison by a Los Angeles federal judge.

Lourdes Perez, 53, a registered nurse who once owned two of the largest home healthcare agencies in California, pleaded guilty in 2004 to fraud and filing false tax returns and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

Government lawyers said her companies paid illegal kickbacks to doctors and patients and billed Medicare for services that were not medically necessary or were not performed.

Perez has repaid about $34 million to the government. On Monday she was ordered to repay an additional $6 million to Medicare and nearly $900,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.



-- Molly Selvin