FRESNO – On Sept. 18, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District announced a guilty verdict for a Hanford man, who pleaded guilty to health care fraud and identity theft after he milked Medicare out of over $1 million in false claims related to bogus sleep studies.
According to the U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert’s office, from October 2019 through September 2021, Travis Gober, 44, who operated VIP Sleep Center facilities in Fresno and Tulare Counties, submitted thousands of false claims to Medicare for sleep studies that were never conducted.
Gober is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 16, 2024. He faces up to 10 years for health care fraud and up to two years for identity theft.
According to the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Gober fabricated the claims, including falsifying referrals from physicians with whom he had worked . Gober added the referrals because Medicare does not pay for a sleep study unless a physician referral is included in the insurance claim.
Sleep studies are often used to assist individuals who have sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy.
Gober apparently committed his crimes to pay off company debts his brother, Jeremy, incurred without Gober’s knowledge. However, in a related story, Jeremy Gober was charged with the same crimes in 2022.
According to a Dec. 16, 2022 U.S. Attorney’s Office press release, from August 2016 through July 2020, Jeremy billed Medicare and Medi-Cal for over $8 million in claims for sleep studies at his Got Sleep centers that were never performed. These false studies included patients who had died before their studies were allegedly conducted.
According to the press release, the charges are only allegations and are still being investigated.