JC Perez, a former IMSA racer, has been sentenced to five years in jail over a three-year case that saw him defraud the Medicare system of $109 million, Daily Sportscar reports.
This isn’t exactly shocking news, since Perez’s exploits have been well known for years. From a Marshall Pruett article on Road & Track that warned about the true sources of money from drivers who have no obvious sponsors:
With a beautiful new Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the relatively unknown Perez took a playful stance with the pink, purple, and silver No. 71 machine. Bearing the same sponsorless approach as Lanier, and the Whittington Brothers, his fellow smuggler-racers, Perez commissioned a cartoon-esque livery for the big V-8-powered car, wrapping it with a ‘Chupacabra’ adorning the expansive hood.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice in an October 29 ruling, there’s no question as to whether the Chupacabra-loving Perez is a criminal, since he “pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston in connection with submitting more than $109 million in false and fraudulent claims for durable medical equipment (DME) such as arm, back, knee and shoulder braces.”
The DOJ ruling is a fascinating one. It alleges that Perez purchased Medicare patient data and then used it to offer those beneficiaries arm, back, knee, or shoulder braces for a significantly reduced cost. Perez would then submit a Medicare claim for those patients, which he filtered through his shell companies whose employees included his wife, mother, and yacht captain.
For all the work that he put into the idea for the scam, Perez wasn’t exactly the perfect criminal. He submitted claims for patients that had already died and would submit multiple claims for some patients. He also frequently billed for a massive amount more money than he spent on the equipment.
At the end of it all, the DOJ said Perez managed to submit $109 million in fraudulent Medicare claims, though he was only able to receive $12 million. Still, that’s plenty of money to start an impressive career as a gentleman driver. His career abruptly ended when his fraud started to come to light in the racing world, though Perez claimed he was retiring with a back injury.
Perez pleaded guilty in March 2021 and has since gotten off relatively easily; he has to spend a meager five years in prison followed by three years of surveilled freedom afterward.