LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The former owner of a medical equipment supply company in Valencia was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison for a fraud scheme that resulted in $3.5 million in bogus claims to Medicare and Medi- Cal.

Sylvia Walter-Eze, 48, of Stevenson Ranch was also ordered by U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner to pay restitution of about $1.1 million to

Medicare and Medi-Cal, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Walter-Eze was found guilty in March of four counts of health care fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to pay illegal health care kickbacks.

Evidence presented at trial showed that Walter-Eze, former owner of Ezcor Medical Supply, fraudulently billed more than $3.5 million to Medicare and Medi-Cal for medical equipment that was not medically necessary.

The Los Angeles federal jury also found that Walter-Eze paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters in exchange for patient referrals, and to physicians for fraudulent prescriptions for medically unnecessary, and expensive, power wheelchairs.

Walter-Eze used those prescriptions to submit claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal, for which she received almost $2 million in reimbursements, according to the Department of Justice.