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Defendants plead guilty in Louisiana health care fraud lawsuit

The federal government investigated four individuals they believe swindled money from Medicare through a company called Medical Supplies of Baton Rouge Inc., which was owned by two of the accused people.

Last Monday, three of the defendants, all Baton Rouge residents, pleaded guilty to participating in a health care fraud conspiracy aimed at scamming millions of dollars from the federal government. Specifically, they admitted causing Medicare to be billed for power wheelchairs and other medical devices that had not been prescribed by physicians or were never given to patients.

In exchange for these pleas, the prosecution dropped additional charges of health care fraud and money laundering. Still, each of these three defendants faces up to 10 years in prison.

The fourth defendant admitted wrongfully disclosing Medicare patients' names and other sensitive information. This charge carries a potential penalty up 10 years in prison, as well.

From November 2005 and September 2008, the two defendants who owned Medical Supplies of Baton Rouge apparently admitting to pulling out $252,021 from the company's corporate account. During that timeframe, company checks amounting to $133,053 were disbursed to one of the owners. The other owner received checks amounting to $95,811.

The other defendant who pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge said she received $125,000 from the two business owners in exchange for providing Medicare numbers of certain patients. She apparently paid the fourth defendant $125 per name supplied, which was passed along to the owners of Medical Supplies of Baton Rouge. Those numbers were then reportedly used to send falsified bills to the taxpayer-funded health insurer.

The government considers health care fraud to be a serious crime. Anyone under investigation or charged with this type of white collar crime should seek immediate legal representation.

Source: 2theadvocate, "3 plead guilty to Medicare fraud scheme," Bill Lodge, 25 Jan. 2011

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