Nine California individuals were charged with conspiracy and insurance fraud on Friday for an alleged fraud scam that billed insurance companies $80 million for Spanish interpretation services that were unnecessary or never provided, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors allege that Francisco Javier Gomez Jr. and his sister, Angela Rehmann, oversaw a business that provided Spanish translation services for medical clinics in Southern California. Between 2007 and 2013, the two owners, along with seven co-conspirators, are suspected of fabricating invoices for interpreting services provided to medical facilities where interpreters were not required and clinics that had bilingual physicians. The group also allegedly submitted claims for services provided by an interpreter who was serving time in a state prison.
All told, the group is accused of submitting more than $80 million in claims for interpretation services and collected approximately $24 million.
Healthcare providers have been searching for quality interpretation services for the last several years, pointing to deficiencies in the current phone service options. In some cases, failure to provide adequate interpretation services has led to lawsuits. That, coupled with the high price of in-person translators, has prompted more facilities to turn to video translation services.
To learn more:
- read the LA County Attorney General's release