MM Summary – An Ohio man awaits trial for stealing $2M from Medicare and Medicaid by billing for X-ray services he did not provide.
A federal case alleging roughly $2 million in Medicaid and Medicare fraud is still pending for a Lake Township man after more than a year.
Thomas G. O’Lear, 56, was indicted in June 2019 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland on 25 counts of health care fraud and a single count of false statements relating to health care matters.
A pretrial conference/change of plea hearing scheduled for Thursday was continued until April 20, following a series of other delays, most of them requested by defense attorneys because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to further review the evidence and discuss a potential plea agreement, according to court records.
A trial also could be scheduled at the April hearing.
Federal prosecutors accuse O’Lear of billing for X-ray services that were not provided by his company, Portable Radiology Services, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.
O’Lear previously pleaded not guilty to all charges. Judge Dan Aaron Polster is presiding over the case.
Messages seeking comment were left Thursday afternoon with O’Lear’s attorneys with the federal public defender’s office in Cleveland.
COVID-19 cited for extensions
In November, O’Lear was granted a 60-day continuance for a pretrial/change of plea hearing. Federal prosecutors did not oppose the request.
Defense attorneys said in court records that more time was needed for further investigation, including consulting with a forensic expert. Time also was needed for attorneys to meet virtually with their client to discuss the conclusions, according to court records.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hindered this process significantly,” the defense filing said.
Similar extensions had been granted in March, May, July and September last year. COVID-19 also was cited in those filings both generally and because the pandemic has prevented defense attorneys from meeting with O’Lear.
Accused of fraud scheme
O’Lear was president of Portable Radiology Services (PRS), with locations on 20th Street NW in Canton, Kennemer Circle NW in Lake Township, Coblentz Avenue NW in Lake Township and Cleveland, according to federal court records.
PRS provided portable X-ray related services to residents of nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and long-term care facilities, according to the indictment.
The false billing is alleged to have occurred between January 2013 and December 2017.
O’Lear is accused of fraudulently billing the Ohio Medicaid Program and Medicare roughly $3.8 million for the claims and the Ohio Medicaid Program and Medicare paid the defendant roughly $2 million, according to the indictment.
O’Lear is accused of submitting false claims to Medicare and the Ohio Medicaid Program for services to beneficiaries at nursing facilities that PRS did not provide, including billing on about 150 occasions for having provided X-ray related services to patients on dates after the person had died.
The defendant is also accused of trying to cover up the health care fraud scheme by forging the signatures of medical professionals and falsely making it appear the billings were tied to services actually provided to patients.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Inspector General, the FBI and a special agent of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.