FBI NEWS RELEASE
September 7, 2011:
United States v. Jay Canastra
Jay Canastra, the director of admissions at The Wealshire, a nursing home in northwest suburban Lincolnshire, was charged with accepting a $1,600 kickback in exchange for referring nursing home Medicare patients to a home health care agency in West Dundee.
Canastra, 38, of Vernon Hills, was charged with one count of violating the anti-kickback statute in a criminal information filed today in U.S. District Court. He will be arraigned at a later date.
According to the charge, on Dec. 4, 2009, Canastra received the $1,600 cash kickback from unnamed Individual A, who was a representative of unnamed Agency A, which was authorized by Medicare to provide home heath services. Canastra allegedly accepted the payment in exchange for referring Medicare beneficiaries at his nursing home to Agency A, in violation of the federal law that makes it illegal to exchange kickbacks in return for Medicare referrals. There is no allegation that the nursing home or any other official there were aware of the alleged kickback.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dylan Smith. The case was investigated by the FBI and the HHS-OIG.
The charges in these cases carry the following maximum penalties on each count: health care fraud — 10 years in prison, and mail fraud — 20 years in prison, and both carry a $250,000 maximum fine, or an alternate fine totaling twice the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater; and making false statements regarding a health care matter, and violating the anti-kickback statute — 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations, which expanded to Chicago in February 2011, are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,140 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
Editor's note: Good work FEDS! Kudos to Dylan! This is a fine beginning, however, the perpetrators who allow this decedent system to propagate are still free. The corrupt Probate Court of Cook County is the hotbed that allows the Medicare/Medicaid crooks to flourish. ~~Lucius Verenus, Schoolmaster, ProbateSharks.com