Not Making the Grade

41672793 - male nurse taking pulse of senior patient at hospital.

When you name your company ”A Plus” anything, you’re setting the bar pretty high for yourself. But in today’s case, the owners of the company earned themselves an ”F” for fraud. According to a press release recently published by the Florida Attorney General’s Office, a husband and wife team in Palm Beach was caught using their medical equipment supply company (the so-called A Plus Medical Equipment and Supply, Inc.) to bill Medicaid for services and equipment that they had promised to handicapped recipients—specifically, severely disabled children—but never provided.

This cheating couple went only half the distance to service their Medicaid clientele, when the husband ”engaged in a campaign” to mislead the caretakers of young, disabled recipients, having them believe that they could expect shipments of essential equipment, such as wheelchairs and bath chairs. He went so far as to visit with patients to measure them for their anticipated, life-improving accessories. Then he billed Medicaid for services and equipment, but failed to deliver anything to the clients. (He deserves a slap on the wrist) Reportedly, although she knew exactly what he was up to, his wife chose to do nothing about it.

An investigation by the Florida Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit revealed that the offenders defrauded Medicaid of more than $40,000 for equipment that their company never provided. Subsequently, each was found guilty of two second-degree felony charges—one count of Medicaid fraud and one count of grand theft. The husband was sentenced to less than two years in prison, followed by another four years of probation; the wife received six years of probation with two years of community control; and both were ordered to pay restitution for the total amount of money they stole, in addition to related fines. (Given that they faced up to 30 years in prison for these crimes, these fraudsters are fortunate to have been graded on a curve).

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Florida Couple Sentenced for Medicaid Fraud and Grand Theft,” a press release published by the Florida Attorney General’s Office on April 14, 2016.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit today announced the sentencing of a Palm Beach couple for Medicaid fraud and grand theft. David and Karen Bledsoe, owners of a durable medical equipment company named A Plus Medical Equipment and Supply, Inc., fraudulently billed the Medicaid program for more than $40,000 in services and medical equipment never provided to Medicaid recipients.

The defendants accepted payment from Medicaid for purportedly providing wheelchairs and bath chairs to Medicaid recipients, in this case, severely disabled children. David Bledsoe measured the recipients for the equipment, directed the billing and engaged in a campaign to mislead the recipients’ caregivers into believing the equipment was on its way. Karen Bledsoe was aware of the fraud and knew that her husband billed Medicaid even though the equipment had not been delivered.

The Honorable Krista Marx, Judge for the Circuit Court of the 15th Judicial Circuit, adjudicated David and Karen Bledsoe guilty of one count of Medicaid fraud and one count of grand theft, both second-degree felonies. The Honorable Krista Marx sentenced David Bledsoe to less than two years in prison, followed by four years of probation, and Karen Bledsoe to six years of probation, including two years of community control. The defendants are also ordered to pay more than $40,000 in fines and restitution.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.