The federal government has a number of entitlement programs that provide beneficiaries with funds for which they qualify. It has been argued that people who take advantage of these programs by stealing benefits they are not entitled to receive are part of an “Entitlement Nation” that believes their actions are justified. The Advocate reports on a Plaquemine, La., woman who believed she deserved to receive Medicare funds and led a fraud scheme that bilked the Medicare system of nearly $300,000.
The story details that the ring leader, who was the manager of a local medical supply firm, collaborated with her mother and daughter to steal federal funds. (How lovely…a family affair.) According to court records, over a two-year period, the threesome billed the program for wheelchairs, power scooters and cranial cervical orthotics that were never delivered to any patients. The manager admitted to creating false physician order forms and equipment delivery tickets to carry out the fraudulent plan.
The woman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. She was sentenced to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution of $297,523. The medical supply company manager’s 69-year-old mother was sentenced to a year in prison and was ordered to pay Medicare $41,650 in restitution. The fraudster’s 31-year-old daughter was sentenced to 14 months in prison and ordered to pay $14,459 in restitution. (Maybe they’ll have adjoining prison cells?)
The fraudster is required to serve more than four years of her sentence before she can qualify for early release. Perhaps this might be the first time that she actually earns a benefit for which she is entitled.