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Dr. Sri J. “Dr. J” Wijegunaratne of Anaheim and Godwin Onyeabor of Covina were convicted of fraudulently billing Medicare for medically unnecessary equipment and receiving paid kickbacks.

The Glendora Patch reports that Dr. Sri J. “Dr. J” Wijegunaratne was sentenced to 27 months for recommending motorized wheelchairs and other equipment that patients did not need and sometimes never used, according to Department of Justice prosecutors.

Co-defendant Godwin Onyeabor, who ran a San Bernardino medical supply firm, fraudulently billed Medicare for the medically unnecessary equipment and paid kickbacks to the doctor, according to the DOJ. Onyeabor, 50, of Covina, was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison.

During trial in Los Angeles federal court, several Medicare beneficiaries testified that they were lured to clinics with the promise of free items such as vitamins and juice, only to receive motorized wheelchairs that they did not need or want.

Over about five years, Onyeabor, Wijegunaratne and others submitted about $1.5 million in false claims to Medicare and received nearly $1 million in reimbursements, according to the DOJ. Wijegunaratne and Onyeabor were each found guilty in April of conspiracy and health care fraud charges.

Two others defendants, Heidi Morishita and Victoria N. Onyeabor, are scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 30 and Oct. 7, respectively.