Healthcare Fraud Prosecuted Vigorously in Louisiana

The owner of four Louisiana medical equipment companies, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive healthcare kickbacks. An employee also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive healthcare kickbacks.

The owner of the four companies hired people to recruit potential patients who obtained prescriptions for medically unnecessary medical equipment. These “patient recruiters” obtained the patients information and then asked the primary care physicians for prescriptions for orthotic equipment, power wheelchairs, wheelchair accessories and other medical equipment. The recruiters then provided the prescriptions to Jones, who billed them to Medicare and paid the recruiters illegal kickbacks for each prescription obtained.

The maximum prison sentence for each count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud is 10 years. The maximum prison sentence for each count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive health care kickbacks is five years.

In another case last week, three men from Prairieville, Louisiana, Mandeville, Louisiana, and Texas received sentences in Baton Rouge that ranged from probation to five years in prison for their conviction on charges that they participated in frauds that cost Medicare more than $2.5 million.

All of the convictions were due to investigations by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in Baton Rouge.

A pre-sentence investigation revealed that the nation’s taxpayer-funded insurer for the elderly and disabled lost more than $2.5 million that was paid for unneeded power wheelchairs.

If you are facing healthcare fraud charges or other federal charges, contact Baton Rouge Criminal Attorney Carl Barkemeyer to discuss your case.

Source: LegalNewsline, The Advocate, “3 sentenced on Medicare fraud charges,” January 13, 2012.