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updated: 8/30/2012 3:50 PM

Elmhurst woman sentenced to 20 months in Medicare fraud

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A 45-year-old Elmhurst woman was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to defrauding Medicare and providing kickbacks to a Chicago doctor.

Merigrace Orillo admitted that she and her husband falsified documents to receive higher Medicare reimbursements than their home health care company was due. She also admitted that some of that money was used to pay kickbacks to a Chicago doctor that referred patients to her company, according to court papers.

Orillo's plea agreement outlines how she and her husband -- who was also indicted, but died before sentencing -- falsified records to make patients appear sicker and in need of greater care than in actuality. The scheme netted the couple more than $700,000 between 2007 and 2010.

Some of the proceeds were used to pay a Chicago doctor that referred patients to Orillo's company. The doctor has not been charged, prosecutors said.

Orillo was also ordered to pay $744,481 to the Medicare Trust Fund. Orillo will have to serve all 20 months of her sentence, prosecutors said.

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