Sleep center defrauds Medicare for $10M

VIP Sleep Center in Fresno and Visalia billed Medicare for sleep tests the company did not perform

FRESNO — A local business owner was hoping the federal government was asleep on the job but found out someone was watching when he defrauded the nation’s health insurance system for $10 million.

On Oct. 28, a federal grand jury indicted Travis Gober, 42, of Hanford on 12 counts of health care fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, Gober owns and controls VIP Sleep Center, a sleep disorder clinic previously operated out of Fresno and Visalia. Sleep disorder clinics perform diagnostic tests to identify ailments like sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Between January 2015 and September 2021, Gober caused VIP Sleep to bill Medicare for sleep tests the company did not actually perform. Each of these claims also listed a provider who had purportedly referred the patient to VIP Sleep even though the provider had not done so. In total, Gober caused VIP Sleep to submit more than $10 million in false and fraudulent Medicare claims.

If convicted, Gober faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the health care fraud charges and a mandatory two years in prison on the aggravated identity theft charges.

The case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vincente A. Tennerelli and Melanie L. Alsworth are prosecuting the case.

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