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News / Northwest

Doctor based in Coeur d’Alene and Washington indicted for allegedly billing Medicare for bogus tests and equipment

By Kip Hill, The Spokesman-Review
Published: June 9, 2023, 7:35am

SPOKANE — A physician licensed in Washington and Idaho has been accused by a grand jury of helping to bilk Medicare out of $1.5 million over a 19-month period ending in September 2019.

David A. Becerril, 67, was indicted Wednesday on 16 federal criminal counts, including health care and wire fraud, as well as making false statements related to health care matters. Becerril also is accused of conspiring with a Florida-based company, Real Time Physicians, to target older patients in the scheme, which involved ordering unnecessary genetic tests and orthotic braces that Becerril and other doctors never saw, then billing the federal government for the bogus medical work.

A voicemail left for Becerril at the phone number listed on his physician license in Idaho was not immediately returned Thursday. No attorney was listed representing him on Thursday afternoon. Becerril has been a licensed medical practitioner in Washington and Idaho since the mid-1980s, according to public records.

The 29-page indictment alleges that Becerril used an internet connection in Yakima to sign off on more than 2,800 orders for tests and equipment at least partially covered by Medicare, despite not treating or even meeting with the patients. The indictment alleges some of the orders for braces and other medical equipment were made for patients who would have no use for it, including a woman in Toppenish who was ordered to receive a left ankle brace in October 2018 despite the fact that she’d had her left leg amputated below the knee two years prior.

Other cases involved orders for genetic testing that the patient either didn’t ask for or need. The indictment alleges Real Time contacted patients via a telemarketing scheme, filled out the orders and then sent them to Becerril for review. After affixing his signature, on average less than a minute after first looking at them, Becerril would receive a $20 “kickback” fee, according to the indictment.

Billing in cases involving Becerril totaled $4 million between February 2018 and September 2019, of which Medicare paid roughly $1.5 million, according to investigators. Becerril received at least $37,340 in the scheme, the indictment alleges. He continued working with the company until he was informed his billing practices were under investigation.

Marc Sporn, the former owner of Real Time, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison in June 2022 on fraud and tax evasion charges.

The charges Becerril faces carry a maximum sentence of 20 years. No court date has been set in front of U.S. District Chief Judge Stanley A. Bastian.