The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles says a woman has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for defrauding Medicare of some $8 million.
U.S. District Judge George H. King told Uben Rush, 54, the unusually stiff sentence was necessary to deter crimes against Medicare.
Prosecutors say Rush ran the scheme from 1999 until 2008, when she owned or controlled six Southern California medical equipment companies.
They say Rush would pay marketers to recruit Medicare beneficiaries who allowed their identities to be used for false claims for items like motorized wheelchairs and hospital-style beds.
Rush would pay kickbacks to the marketers, who in turn paid doctors who wrote fraudulent prescriptions for the items.
Rush submitted more than $15 million in claims, of which Medicare paid more than $8 million.